Mwense Palm oil project on course
Mwense, February , 25 ZANIS ——— Isubilo Palm Oil Project in Mwense district has taken shape following the KR1.8 million capital injection by government for the irrigation of the 300 hectares of land in the production of Palm oil for about 150 farmers.
Mwense District Senior Agriculture Officer Mumba Wonani said there was need to encourage the growing of palm Oil trees by local people in the area because of the suitable weather in the area.
Mr Wonani added that the KR1.8 million irrigation project will be used to draw water from the stream to all the surrounding farmers so that they could run their farms as a business.
He said there was need to have an all year round type of agricultural activities in the area when the irrigation scheme starts running so that farmers could grow all sorts of crops for the ready market in the district, province and other towns in other provinces.
And Head of Technical Services Clive Chilowa said the Project had capacity to pump 2,420 litres of water to the reservoir which sits at about 600 meters from the stream.
He said the project will create employment and improve the living standards of the people in the area.
And Isubilo Palm Oil Project Chairman Alexander Chibiliti said farmers in the area were ready and were just waiting for the Palm Oil Tree seedlings.
Mr Chibiliti said there was great demand for Palm Oil products everywhere because it was used for making soaps and cooking oil.
He said there was already a Company in South Africa that was asking for the sustainable supply of 40 by 200 litres of cooking oil per day which demand is still there but the equipment which the farmers were using currently to extract the oil were inferior and needed to use advanced equipment to meet the demand.
He said there was huge potential for growing the Palm Oil business in the region, added that there was also need for acquiring weeding equipment because Palm trees flourish better in a weed free environment with plenty of water coupled with the right type and quantities of fertilizers or manure from poultry activities.
Mr Chibiliti implored government to consider including Palm oil farmers on the Farmers Input Support Programme because they were also farmers just like their fellow farmers who were in the growing of maize with the capacity to pay back in accordance with the requirements.
And Mwense District Commissioner Victor Kasuba said the Palm Oil farmers needed a Tractor and a Mower to be clearing their Palm Oil tree areas.
Mr Kasuba however, cited the low power voltage in the area which he said negatively affected the pumping of required amount of water into the reservoir.
And Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Mbololwa Muyaba who toured the project expressed optimism at the positive effects the project will have on the farmers in the area.
Mrs Muyaba said it was a good project as it will benefit the local people and had the potential of putting more money in their pockets.