Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Legalize Kachasu


By Dickson Jere

I got an invite for late lunch with former President Rupiah Banda. He wanted to introduce me to “a very interesting” man whom he had met while in Atlanta Georgia in 2012 after he left office.

“You should listen to him attentively. He has great ideas,” President Banda said ahead of the lunch at his Lilayi house last year.

The three of us sat for a sumptuous lunch on the patio.

The “very interesting” man looked ordinary even though he was suited for the event and came with a laptop – ready for the presentation to me and the former President. The topic of discussion was power generation and biofuels in Zambia to help end load shedding.

Chiluwata Lungu is a Zambian professor based in Atlanta. He is a lead Combustion Aerothermal Engineer working for General Electric (GE) Power in the US. He is a genius who is also the man behind the Zambia Robotics – the team of young engineers that has taken the world by storm. Check them on CNN Inside Africa programs and have won awards internationally. Lungu is an expert in the manufacturing of aeroplanes and jet engines. He knows his stuff!

So, his take was that the brewing of Kachasu in Zambia should be encouraged. He believes the “Kachasu Project” can be a game-changer for the country and create employment for the youths and women, especially in shanty compounds.

“Kachasu is composed of ethanol which is a biofuel used for petrol,” he said, adding that it can also be used as fuel for cars.

“We need to change our mindset and perspective. Instead of looking at Kachasu as alcohol for drinking, we should look at it as a biofuel to power our economic growth,” he said.

The professor had figured. A drum of Kachasu is appropriately 200 litres and currently costs about K200, which translates to K1 per litre of Kachasu. But if sold as ethanol, it will cost K5 per litre, which is five times more than what the brewers get in compounds.

“We have a cheaper and greener locally sourced supply of fuel and Zambia can become a biofuel leader and exporter,” Lungu said while giving Brazil a good example of the country making money in biofuels.

As an expert in combustion, he said he is able to adjust most of the gensets in Zambia to start using Kachasu as fuels. It is very simple to do, he believes, given his experience.

“Kachasu is 20% ethanol biofuel, a green fuel alternative for petrol/gasoline,” he said.

“Imagine if our mothers and grandmothers can make Kachasu and ethanol biofuel in their backyards, what more can we do to transform our great nation if we put our mind and collective efforts to it,” he said.

After a three-hour lunch, I was wowed!

“Kana Nzelu Ku Munthu aka…” President Banda said to me after the presentation.

Last week, Prof Lungu got in touch with me even before the current Kachasu debacle broke out. He promised to take me to his farm in the Mungule area once he returns to Zambia to showcase how his genset will be powered by Kachasu.

So, my thoughts are – Just legalize and regulate Kachasu as a biofuel in Zambia!

NB. Prof Lungu is the man behind the Zambian Institute for Sustainable Development (ZISD), which also has a girls’ football team.


  1. The trouble is, we don’t tend to believe in our own abilities – it always sounds better made abroad!

    #plant a tree please.


  3. Tikki is an 1d10t. He is talking sh1t against good ideas. Tikki don’t behave like a mad person. For a moment don’t comment if you have nothing to say.

    You comments are so irr1tat1ing. You sound like you think after you have written something.

  4. Trendy small bars/pubs all over the UK have micro breweries at the back the premises or in the cellar. They also bottle and sell to supermarkets and shops. How can we regulate it(control the strength) for people to consume and not be victimised and laughed at.

  5. Our engineers and chemists will build up to date equipment to brew this traditional brew. And we will have pride in it, with a label on the bottle that says “Proudly Zambian” . Instead of Garry Nkombo victimising the poor lady and her offspring, he should encouraging the woman to set up at business. He should have gone there to donate a Kachasu brewing set to the woman.

  6. Upnd cadre from Ngombe – You talk of UK craft beers or gineries as if they are katembas behind the house ..those are registered brewieries with tax office and are taxed accordingly they sell their products in supermarkets and their own bars.

  7. You can not regulate small boys foraging at black mountain now you are talking about ethanol…who is going to buy fuel when people start doing this or mix ethanol with cooking oil to make bio-diesel? You are the same people who will wonder why the tax collection from Diesel has reduced.

  8. For once we should avoid joky attitudes and contribute constructively towards progressive ideas. Keep it up engineer Lungu.

  9. How can one be constructive on this site
    firstly how can you legalise Kachasu … Who will control it as its brewed in most rural villages around the country
    which are virtually imposible to monitor
    yet the debate goes on and on which no solution>>

  10. @Tikki – are you for real? I – “Appear to have been around for a long while”?? How old are you Tikki? A boy??

  11. @ Tarino Orange I know and have worked with some merchants and brewers in this business here, they are not that sophisticated people. Most are chancers and have made it big…lol It can be done in Zambia fam. If the woman built a good structure and has a name for the building, LCC and Tax man will easily pay her a visit.

  12. You say you know some UK merchants but dont name one …FYI some of those craft breweries are backed by Pub chains…please dont come here hallucinating things for likes. I tell it how it is, it would be foolish for a poor country like Zambia to allow this…when it collects a chunk of revenue from this stream. Do you realise that there are people who invented motorvehicles to run on just water but that technology was bought and shelved by the powers that be,
    You are here proposing legalising moonshine but when someone says legalise the herb you start reciting bible verses and that you are a Christian country….this Kachasu is so potent that even at school when we were deep in villages OB we opted for homemade wines.

  13. “especially in shanty compounds” ….let’s just call then what they really are : Zambian slums.

  14. Kachasu isnt brewed the same way around the country. In some regions battery acid is a major component. In others ARVs are added and so on and so on so be careful what you are advocating for. Biofuels are the hype nowadays and they dont have to be associated with Kachasu.. This kind of suggestion is like saying since we cant deal with corruption lets legalise it.

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