ZAMBIA – Industrial Development Group of Zambia (IDC), which controls the majority stake at ZamPalm Ltd, has launched palm out grower scheme as part company’s ambitions to boost palm oil production capacity in the country.

Speaking during the launch of the out-grower scheme, Mr Mateyo Kaluba IDC Group Chief Executive Officer said that the firm has so far invested K2.7 million (US$228 000)to enable the out-grower scheme take-off, with 80 hectares under 137 smallholder farmers.

IDC said that the company has planned to invest US$28 million over the next four years in the palm sector under the out-grower scheme, reports Lusaka Times.

Additionally, President Lungu, present during the launch, said the multimillion project will enable the country build capacity and increase domestic production of palm and it’s by product for export.

“The Out-grower scheme provides large firms an opportunity to improve supply and ensure quality and helping our small scale farmers to improve production by providing them with a guaranteed market for their produce,” said president Lungu.

The ZamPalm project is targeting to benefit 500 small scale farmers through the IDC and Zambeef partnership.

Mr Kaluba also unveiled that IDC will invest an additional US$5 million in ZamPalm to expand the capacity of the mill to handle output coming from the out-grower scheme.

According to Mr Kaluba, the country has an estimated annual consumption of crude edible oil of 120,000 tonnes, with only 30,000 tonnes being supplied locally, while the rest is imported, amounting to US$70 million per year.

He said that the project aims at bridging the gap in the race of making Zambia a net palm oil exporter.

At the same occasion, Minister of Agriculture Mr Michael Katambo said the project affirms the Government’s commitment to the economic diversification agenda.

Zampalm Ltd was incorporated in 2009, has some more than 409,506 palms planted on its plantation, supplies edible oil to industry players and provides oil palm plantation services.

The Industrial Development Corporation controls a 90% stake at ZamPalm, which it acquired from Zambeef in April 2018 in a transaction US$16 million.

At the time of the acquisition, Zambeef highlighted that this was part of the group’s strategy of focusing on its core business of the production and retailing of cold chain meat and dairy products, cropping and stock feed.