THE Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) has announced that the 100 solar milling plants under the presidential initiative will be in full operational by 15 February this year.
ZCF director General James Chirwa said in an interview that all the solar mills arrived in Zambia last month from China and the installation is currently ongoing in different parts of the country.
The milling plants which are being installed in each of the country’s 10 provinces are aimed at cutting the cost of mealie meal that has reached unprecedented prices in recent months.
Three of the plants which arrived earlier last month are already producing the staple food in Kasama, Luwingu and Solwezi. The mealie meal is being sold at K55 per 50 kilogramme bag of breakfast and K50 of roller meal of the similar quantity.
“The milling plants have all arrived and the installation is currently taking place, and we hope that all of them would be in full operational by 15 February.
“This is an important milestone because it is going to cut off factors that have caused the increase in mealie meal prices in Zambia,” Mr Chirwa said.
The country has experienced unprecedented hike in the pricing of the staple food, forcing the intervention of President Edgar Lungu as millers threatened for more increase.
The increased Zesco power outages which were coupled by maize shortages had also forced the Government to the commodity to millers in a bid to stabilize the price of mealie meal.
“As fuel price goes up as well as the cost of electricity it has become almost inevitable for the cost of mealie meal to also increase but this will now be different we have already proved it in the districts where we are producing,” he said.
Mr Chirwa assured the consumers that the cost of mealie meal produced by solar plants would be affordable and sustainable.
As well as helping to reduce mealie meal prices, the solar hammer mills are expected to create more than 3,000 jobs.