By HELEN ZULU –
PREMIERCON Starch Company Limited is scheduled to commence construction of a 3.5 million euro cassava processing plant in Kalumbila District in North-western Province once the Zambia Environmental
Management Agency (ZEMA) approves the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).
The company has so far spent about US$30,000 on preliminary works at the site which include designing, clearing of the site, making access roads, and drilling of a borehole.
The plant is a joint venture between Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company BV (DADTCO) and Premiercon Starch Company Limited.
DADTCO is a Netherlands’ unique private sector company established in 2002 which bases its approach on a combination of private entrepreneurship with a social vision.
Premiercon Starch Company Limited chief executive officer Lubasi Yuyi said the company was still waiting for a go-ahead from ZEMA to commence the actual construction of the cassava processing plant.
Mr Yuyi said in an interview in Lusaka that preliminary works had begun in preparation for the construction of the plant and that access ways, clearing the site, drilling a borehole and a design for the plant had already been done.
“We are still waiting for a go-ahead from ZEMA to start the actual construction of the processing plant. We cannot start before ZEMA approves the EIA because they are the ones with the last say.
“The preliminary works have already been done at a cost of US$30, 000 such as the design for the plant, access ways, clearing of the site and drilling of a borehole,” he said.
Mr Yuyi said the processing company projects production of at least 7,200 tonnes of starch annually once production starts, and an equivalent of production of raw tubers from 8,000 smallholder farmers doing a lima or two each.
He said the partnership provided a guaranteed market for cassava farmers as the company would purchase cassava at a pre-agreed price.