The Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) has recently announced that the 100 units of equipment received in January to set-up solar-powered mini-milling plants in the country will be fully operational in February, 2016.
The equipment received is part of a USD 21 million initiative fully funded by the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ), which was proposed in 2013 by the ZCF and is meant to set up 2,000 mini-milling plants in 25 districts of the country’s ten provinces that have the most potential for maize production by June, 2016.
The announce was done by ZCF Director General James Chirwa, whom explained that all 2,000 solar mills have already arrived to Zambia in January, 2016, from China and the installation of mini-milling plants is going on track throughout the country.
When fully operational, the mini-milling plants will support the reduction of the mealie meal cost that has reached unprecedented levels after the cost of electricity went up due to the power shortages that have hit the country along 2015, Mr. Chirwa added.
However, it is proved that the introduction of the mini-milling plants do reduce the cost of mealie meal since maize off-loaded in Solwezi, Luapula and Kasama in the country’s northern region has reduced its price from ZMW 80 per 25 kilogram bag to ZMW 45 per 25 kilogram bag according to the ZCF.
The mini-milling plants has a capacity to off-load 2 tonnes of maize per day in the market and the ZCF will support them by buying 2 million tonnes of maize per year to raise supply and contribute with the reduction of mealie meal prices while decongesting the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), whose reserves demand high funds from the treasury.
According to Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations, Mr. Amos Chanda, further actions will be soon announced by President Edgar Lungu to ensure that the mealie meal price will be brought down further after they rose in the last months of 2015.