President Edgar Lungu has flag off the commencement of the construction of 13 milling plants in various districts across the country under the presidential milling plants initiative.
The Head of state said this is a great milestone in the actualization of the Patriotic Front government’s pro-poor policy aimed at ensuring that the lives of the majority of Zambians in the rural areas are bearable.
Speaking at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of milling plants at the University of Zambia Agricultural technology demonstration center in Chongwe, President Lungu said the construction works of the milling plants will be conducted in two phases and will be carried out by china machinery industry construction group incorporated.
He said under phase one of this project, three milling plants will be constructed including the one to be put up at the University of Zambia agricultural technology demonstration centre.
President Lungu said the other two have been earmarked for Monze district in southern province and Mpika district in Muchinga province.
He said government has put in place this initiative to take the production of mealie meal and stock feed to the door step of the subsistence farmer, who is the major producer of maize in the country.
President Lungu said despite the subsistence farmer’s hard work to produce the maize, it is sad to note that they accesses mealie meal and stock feed at a very high price.
He said other than reducing the cost of production for Zambia’s staple food, the positioning of the milling plants in some of the rural areas will create job opportunities for the local people who will be employed to work in the plants.
President Lungu said in addition, the milling plants will offer an alternative ready market for the maize which is produced in the respective areas and will resolve the challenge of people looking far and wide for a market for their products.
He said transport costs will ultimately reduce making mealie meal and other maize products affordable to the communities within the vicinity of milling plants.
President Lungu said the milling plant to be constructed in Chongwe will also be a training facility for human resource who will be working in milling plants in the country and will result in increased efficiency of personnel working in the milling industry across the country.
He said the three plants to be constructed in the first phase will have a combined maximum production capacity of 520 tones per day translating into 10,400 by 25 kilogramme bags of mealie meal per day and will also take approximately 21 months to become operational.
President Lungu said out of the 13 milling plants which will be constructed under the presidential milling plant initiative, six will be managed by the Zambia National Service.
He said the 13 milling plants whose construction he launched today will be located in Kaoma-western province, Monze and Mazabuka-southern province, Chipata-eastern province, Mpika-Muchinga province, and Solwezi-north western province.
President Lungu said other plants will be situated in Mumbwa and Kapiri Mposhi-central province, Luanshya and Kalulushi-copperbelt province, Mansa-luapula province, Chongwe-lusaka province and Kasama in Northern Province.