ZAMBIA – The Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) is this year expected to set up milling plants in four districts at a cost of about US$10 million through a loan acquired from the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) to stabilise mealie-meal prices in the country.

ZCF has identified milling as a potential business in the rural areas namely in Mbala, Kalomo Lundazi and Mumbwa or Mpika in the value addition chains to put up a milling plant in the respective districts.

ZCF director general James Chirwa said the project has been linked with on-going road infrastructure development to enhance access to the areas.

“This year, we should be seen putting up at least four milling plants at about US$10 million from a DBZ loan. This is aimed at mitigating the high prices of mealie-meal currently in the country,” he said in an interview in Lusaka on Tuesday.

Mr Chirwa said the milling plant that will cost roughly US$2.1 million to construct will have a production capacity of about 60,000 of 25 kilogramme bags per month.

The construction of the milling plants will consist of warehouses and storage facilities for both raw and finished products.

He said ZCF is also looking at other sources of funds to increase milling plants to at least six.

“About 22 districts have so far been picked, but ZCF would start with those in the highest maize producing provinces, namely Southern, Eastern and Northern,” Mr Chirwa said.

Currently, the price of mealie-meal, the country’s staple food is high despite Zambia recording consecutive maize bumper harvest. ZCF has a five-year strategic plan in which it intends to achieve the much-talked about industrial clusters in all regions.

January 16, 2014;