ZAMBIA – Zambeef has welcomed Nelson Basaalidde as new general manager for Zampalm Limited’s palm oil plantation scheme that seeks to improve smallholder capabilities.

The Zampalm out-grower scheme is collaboration between Zambeef Products and small-scale farmers in order to develop full potential of the 20,000-hectare plantation.

Zambeef says the project has the potential to substitute 70,000 tonnes of cooking oil imported into the country thus help in saving US$70-100 million in foreign exchange.

Nelson joins Zampalm, Zambeef Products division with expertise and experience in providing farmers with seedlings, training and inputs needed.

He has 20 years of commercial agriculture experience involving management of out-grower schemes in Uganda focused on efficient land use, capital administration and mobilisation of farmers.

Being a holder of a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Makerere University and MBA from Uganda Martyrs University, he is expected promote value addition and social economic benefits to the community.

He will be engaged in mobilisation, preparing of land, raising of the oil palm seedlings, planting and ensure best practices e.g. use of centre pivots to water seedlings and mulching.

According to Nelson, success at the Ugandan scheme was possible through public, private, producer and government partnership together with critical role played by several other stakeholders.

“Zambeef have done a commendable job in establishing this plantation from scratch.

There was nothing in this place, but now they have over 3,000 hectares of oil palm plantation and they are already producing the palm oil which, as you know, is used to produce cooking oil and many other by-products including soap and lotion and that’s a great contribution to the economy of Zambia,” said Nelson.

The scheme was established through a partnership between Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Zampalm.

The Zampalm project, launched in 2009, has received US$41.5 million investment, US$20 million provided by Zambeef.

The project seeks to address growing demand for palm oil in the country, which is mostly imported from the Far East, East Africa and South Africa.

Zambia has an estimated 120,000 tonnes of edible oils market per year and with a two-tonnes-per-hour crushing mill built in 2015, the country could generate more than US$170 million in revenue over the next decade, says Zampalm.