Local Zambian investor opens maize milling plant, eyes DRC export market

ZAMBIA – Zambia based OTH Kalume Agric Implements and Mechanical Services, has opened a K2.5 million milling plant in Kabwe, with a production capacity of 400, 25 kilogrammes bags of maize a day.

The company’s Managing Director Hebert Kalume, revealed that the fully automated facility was bought from China at a cost of US$39,000.

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The completion of phase one of the company’s operations, will see creation of over 25 direct jobs, targeting people from the local community.

Phase two of the project will entail building of Mampofu shopping complex and an administration block.

The complex will house a modern restaurant, a mini-mart, butchery and an outlet for tractor spare parts, reports Daily Mail.

The company is also planning for phase three which will entail building maize storage sheds.

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OTH Kalume is targeting both the local and export market with its products especially DRC who have been reliant on maize imports from Zambia.

In 2019, Zambia signed a memorandum of understanding with the DRC to export 600,000 tons of corn to that country annually.

The agreement aims to deter informal trade flows and promote formalized corn exports to the DRC. Zambia could exploit this agreement in the 2022/23 MY to export surplus corn.

During the marketing year 2022/23, the country is expected to reach 2,706,243 metric tons, a decline of 25.2% from 3,620,244 metric tons recorded in 2020/2021.

The decline according to Zambia’s Minister of Agriculture Rueben Phiri is attributed to the decline in the area planted from 1,687,929 hectares last season to 1,507,441 hectares.

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This is coupled with a reduction in yields from 2.14 metric tons per hectare last season to 1.80 metric tons per hectare during the period under review.

Mr Phiri says of the total estimated production of 2,706,243 metric tons of maize, the small and medium scale farming households are expected to contribute 96 per cent while the large-scale farmers are projected to contribute 4 per cent.

Despite the expected decline in production, the country will remain to be food secure as of 1st May 2022, the total carryover stocks held by farmers, millers, grain traders and the food reserve agency was 1,503,432 metric tons.

To this end the total available maize supply in the 2022/2023 agricultural marketing season is 4,209,675 metric tons, sufficient to meet the estimated local demand of 3,004,763metric tons.

With an expected surplus of over 1 million metric tonnes of maize, the South African country has highlighted it will maintain an open border policy for exports in line with regional and international trade protocols.

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