TAPERA Industries Limited, a local firm has partnered with various organisations to engage 2,000 small-scale farmers to enable them supply jatropha seed.
Company proprietor Mutoba Ngoma said Tapera Industries Limited’s investment is focused on the renewable energy sector, primarily to stimulate the production of jatropha seed through small-scale farmer out grower schemes.
Mr Ngoma said the company is spending over K50,000 per month to buy jatropha seed.
In response to a query, Mr Ngoma said apart from buying jatropha seed for biofuel production, the company also produces sunflower cooking oil, bar soap and sunflower cake.
He said the firm will continue working with farmers to empower them with knowledge about the value of crops that they cultivate, such as jatropha and castor beans.
“While working with various stakeholders including Musika Zambia Limited, we have engaged over 2,000 small-scale farmers comprising mostly women and youths to supply our business with jatropha seed.
“Economically, the farmers have an opportunity to earn more money after the harvest season is over through selling their jatropha seed to us while we provided seasonal jobs for up to 20 persons in the rural areas to serve the rural farmers during the off season months from January to May when there is no other ready income available,” Mr Ngoma said.
On export plans, he said the company which is already exporting biofuel energy crops to Malawi intends to extend to the Far East to help boost its financial base.
“Other export markets we intend to take advantage of are the Far East markets like Japan, for out organic sunflower cooking oil, where it would attract a better price because of its health benefits,” he said.