By JUDITH NAMUTOWE –
ABOUT 4,000 milling machines will start arriving into the country next month following the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF)’s sourcing of US$20 million initial payment.
ZCF director general James Chirwa said the federation had paid US$20 million towards importation of the mills to the manufacturer in China.
He said the federation had completed negotiations and was set to establish the first small milling plants in some parts of the country by end of August this year.
“We have finished negotiations with the manufacturer and US$20 million has since paid out towards importation of the mills from China,” Mr Chirwa said.
Mr Chirwa said this in an interview in Lusaka yesterday.
Mr Chirwa said the small milling plants will have the capacity to produce one tonne of mealie meal per day.
He said the 4,000 mills, which will be acquired under the Presidential Milling Initiative, would be distributed to primary cooperatives across the country and that the advantage with the smaller mills was that they were solar-powered.
Mr Chirwa said the federation would roll out 12 of the big milling plants whose production capacity would range from 80 to 240 tonnes of mealie meal per 24-hour shift.
He said of the 12, five are part of the 25 milling plants whose funding has been approved by Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ), while seven others would be established under the Presidential Milling Initiative.
“Out of the 25 milling plants, ZCF has been given five whose is capacity will range from 80 to 240 per 24- hour shift. Then out of the 13 milling plants under the Presidential initiative, we have also been given seven mills,” Mr Chirwa said.
Last month the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) said it was structuring a financing facility which President Lungu negotiated with China for setting up small milling plants across the country at a cost of over US$50,000 per plant.
The DBZ was quoted in the local media as having stated once it completed the structuring of the milling plant financing, it will disburse the finances to the ZCF, which will identify the key areas for the milling plants and implement the presidential initiative.