Government says it is committed to improve the economic development of the country through increased palm Oil production.
Muchinga Province Permanent Secretary (PS), Jobbicks Kalumba said the production of oil from palm tree plantations in the country, is one way the economy can be improved through job creation for the local people.
Speaking when he toured the Zampalm Oil plantation in Kanchibiya district in Muchinga Province yesterday, Dr. Kalumba charged that the level of production of oil at the plantation is impressive adding that, Zampalm should be taken as a good example in order to achieve the Plant a Million Trees Initiative in all parts of the province.
Dr. Kalumba said if the excellent operations of Zampalm in the production of oil are to be replicated in all parts of the province, the challenges of unemployment will be history.
He further challenged students involved in Agro Forestry academic disciplines to take advantage of Zampalm and engage in research to come up with locally produced seeds instead of imported seeds from other countries.
And Zampalm Estate Manager, David Sibakanya said the plantation harvests over 1,200 hectares of oil palms per season adding that, the production of crude palm oil which is sold locally is likely to increase in the next 2019-2020 season.
Mr. Sibakanya said the plantation produces between 1,000 and 1,600 tonnes of oil per hectare, attributing the high production to the huge labour force the plantation has in place.
He mentioned that Zampalm has a labour force of about 700 workers at the plantation noting that 90 per cent of hand labour is more effective in the initial stages.
Meanwhile, Kapasa Makasa University Head of the Aquatic and Fisheries department, Concillia Monde, is impressed with Zampalm operations saying the local production of palm oil is an indicator of self-sustainability in the local production of margarine and soaps for income benefits.
Ms. Monde added that, increased excesss production of these products can be sold outside the country thereby, gaining foreign exchanged which in turn contributes to the economic development of the country through improved livelihoods of the local people.
She further challenged her institution to engage in research in order to come up with locally produced palm seeds by conducting experiments to find ways of breaking the seed dormancy.
She also urged students in the Agro Forestry and Forestry departments to utilise Zampalm by acquiring knowledge for them to succeed in their academic endeavours with regard to tree planting.
The tour came as a result of a Steering committee which was created following a practical approach meeting in transforming the socio economic landscape of Muchinga Province through a diversified Agriculture and Forestry sector.