According to a press release by Zambeef Products PLC (ZAMBEEF:LUSE), the Zambian agribusiness giant has invested USD 16 million in a palm oil plant project, which is due to start production at the end of 2014.
Named ZamPalm, the palm oil plant is expected to produce an initial 1,400 tonnes of crude palm oil in the first season, increasing to 50,000 tonnes by 2020.
The output forecast is based on a plantation size of 326,000 palms planted on 2,132 hectares, but is expected to increase exponentially as the company plans to expand to 20,100 hectares in coming years.
According to Zambeef Chief Executive Officer Francis Grogan, the ZamPalm project will remove Zambia’s need to import cooking oil from other countries, which could save more than USD 50 million a year in foreign exchange expenditure.
Zambeef estimates the import crude palm oil in Zambia to 65 000 tonnes, costing the country approximately USD 56 million a year.
Located in the Mpika District of Zambia’s Northern Province, the ZamPalm project was set up by Zambeef in 2009 to complement the company’s Zamanita edible oils operations.