Senior Chief Mushota of the Chishinga people of Kawambwa District has expressed worry at the slow pace that the SUNBIRD Bio Energy Project is moving.
Speaking when Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Dr. Buleti Nsemukila paid a courtesy call on him last week, the Senior Chief said he is worried at the slow progress of the project because so far little has been done.
He disclosed that the launch of the project was promising with the Head of State coming to grace the ground breaking ceremony but so far little progress has been seen on the ground regarding the project.
The Senior Chief said traditional leaders in the area gave out 20 hectares of land for the project but not much has been seen happening on the ground.
Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Dr. Buleti Nsemukila said he will follow up the matter with the relevant people in Lusaka.
According to the Sunbird website ( http://www.sunbirdbioenergy.com/projects/zambia-kawambwa/ ), President Lungu launched the Kawambwa ethanol and power project in December 2015 with the aim of seeking to diversify the economy into value-added agriculture. This project directly contributes to the governments objectives by with:
- A cassava out-grower program for up tp 20,000 rural farmers
- Import substitution of 120 million litres of petroleum per year, delivering a foreign exchange saving of approximately $100m
- 32 MW of power that can be utilised by local businesses or exported to the national grid
- 600 skilled jobs at the factory and in administration
The project has been designed and developed as a benchmark for sustainable investment in Africa and in accordance with EU, World Bank and African Development Bank standards.
Sunbird Bioenergy has acquired 20,000 Ha of land on the Luena Farm Block to develop a cassava nursery and rural out-grower program. The company has designed an agricultural program that is forecast to produce 600,000 tonnes of cassava feedstock for the bioethanol plant. The cassava nursery is expected to employee 80 specialist workers, whilst the majority of the cassava will be produced by up to 20,000 small scale farmers and rural out-growers.