ZAMBIA – Zampalm, a subsidiary of Zambeef Products, has commissioned a US$1 million crushing and processing plant in Mpika which will reduce the country’s dependence on imported edible oil.

Currently, Zambia imports crude palm oil worth over US$70 million annually.

The factory will begin processing crude palm oil in September 2015, with first harvesting planned for August through to January next year.

According to a statement availed to the Daily Mail on Wednesday, the plant has a capacity to crush two to three tonnes of fresh palm fruit per hour.

“The plant comprises of four ‘cookers, a boiler, tumbler and digester that separate the oil from the fruit. The used fruit bunches are then recycled into the boiler, as fuel or used as organic fertiliser. The crude oil will then be sent for refining into cooking oil or biofuel,” the statement reads.

The company says following completion of the new crushing mill a second two-tonne mill is expected to be installed in 2017 and a further 10-tonne plant in 2018, taking crude palm oil production up to 17,000 tonnes a year.

Currently, over 500 people have been employed at the plantation and the workforce is expected to grow as the harvesting season draws closer and operations grow.

The total investment cost in the Zampalm is estimated at US$41.5 million, of which Zambeef has spent US$20 million so far, and at current price the average production of crude oil of three to 3.5 tonnes per hectare could generate over US$170 million in revenue over the next decade.

Once fully operational, the plantation will contribute to substituting 70,000 tonnes of cooking oil imported into Zambia, saving the country about US$70 million (K511 million) in foreign exchange outflows annually.

Zampalm also intends to open branches in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) market, targeting countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola.

June 26, 2015;