ZAMBIA – The National Milling Corporation, an affiliate of American agribusiness and transport conglomerate, Seaboard Corporation has commissioned a new US$37.5million milling plant Lusaka, Zambia.

Installed by the Swiss milling equipment supplier, Buhler, the ultra-modern facility has a capacity to mill 600 metric tonnes of wheat per day. The company said that the plant will commence wheat milling in its initial stages, with plans underway to start maize milling after twelve months.

Speaking during commissioning of the plant, Zambia’s President, Edgar Lungu hailed the investment while calling for similar efforts in order to ensure the country meets its annual wheat demand from locally sourced and processed wheat.

 “Wheat production has been increasing over the years and in the 2018/2019 farming season, wheat was one of the few crops which recorded increased production when compared to the previous season.

“Despite this improvement in wheat production, we still have not reached a level where we are comfortable to meet local demand.

“For businesses such as bakeries to survive, we still have to rely on wheat imports. This calls for increased wheat production locally, and increased local capacity to process,” he said.

In addition, President Lungu unveiled that the government is also embarking on a programme to commercialize the cassava industry in the country.

“Cassava is an important crop which can support the government’s strategy to uplift the welfare of our small-scale farmers. My government is now embarking on a programme to commercialise cassava industry in Zambia,” the President said.

The President further reaffirmed the government’s commitment in promoting investments in the country highlighting that his administration is opening up dialogue to encourage public and private sector partnerships.

“This investment by National Milling Corporation and indeed other investments across the country area clear indication that private sector is responding positively to the conducive business environment in the country,” he added.

Ralf Moss vice-president of Seaboard Corporation commended the Zambian government for creating a conducive environment for foreign investment to flourish.

US deputy chief of mission Martin Dale emphasised that private sector innovation and investment were key to unlocking economic growth.

“And as governments, our primary role is to create a stable regulatory policy and tax environment that allows the private sector to thrive and grow.

“With this $37.5 million investment in this ultra-modern plant, National Milling is doubling down on its 21-year commitment to Zambia to supply wheat, maize, baked goods, animal feed, and food distribution systems to the Zambian market,” said Dale.

The National Milling Corporation is a subsidiary of multinational investment group, Seaboard which operates 19 milling plants across Africa including the Unga Group in Kenya, Groupe Mimran’s flour milling and associated businesses in Senegal and Ivory Coast.