Zambeef Plc, the largest integrated agri-business company in Zambia says Zambia has potential to be self-sufficient in cooking oil production in the next 10 years.
The company says the country can achieve this through the contribution of its multi-million dollar ZamPalm project.
Zambeef Chief Executive Officer Francis Grogan said the ZamPalm project in Mpika district in Muchinga province to create 2,000 new jobs in the remote Chinama area of Chief Kopa’s chiefdom will transform the outlook for Zambia’s edible oils industry and could save more than US$50 million on an annual basis in foreign exchange.
Dr. Grogan says Zambeef has so far spent US$16 million (more than K100 million) on a 2,132 hectarage ZamPalm project which is due to start production at the end of this year producing an initial 1,400 tonnes of crude palm oil in the first season.
ZANIS reports that Dr. Grogan said this in a press statement issued in Lusaka today.
“Zambeef is confident that its new ZamPalm project will transform the outlook for Zambia’s edible oils industry and have a significant impact in helping to reduce the drain on the country’s balance of payments caused by the current import of oil from abroad,” Mr. Grogan said
He said an additional 50,000 tonnes are expected to be produced in the year 2020 as his firm develops the 20,100 hectares of the plantation in coming years.
He said Zambeef has already conducted considerable feasibility on the ZamPalm project as well as carried out an environmental land assessment and impact.
Zambia consumes around 90,000 tons of cooking oil per year and only produces around 25,000 tons from soybeans with the shortfall having to be imported.
The country imports 70,000 tonnes of crude palm oil and spends approximately US$56 million (around K380 million) a year to buy the commodity.