Friday, May 24, 2024

Government to Revive Stalled Solar Milling Plants Owned by Cooperatives as it Halts Export of Maize

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Zambia’s New Dawn government has announced its plans to revive stalled solar milling plants owned by cooperatives, according to Minister of Small Medium Enterprise Elias Mubanga. During his tour of solar milling plants, the Minister found that many were not operational due to a lack of resources and capacity. Mubanga assured cooperatives that a lasting solution aimed at boosting the production of mealie meal, a Zambian staple food, will soon be rolled out. The Ministry is already in talks with a Technical Company that has expressed interest in offering technical assistance to enable the cooperatives to operationalize the machinery to full capacity.

Additionally, the Ministry will soon roll out a program aimed at supporting cooperatives that benefitted from the solar milling plants in order to boost their maize production and mealie meal production capacity. The solar milling plants were established to enable cooperatives to engage in more sustainable business ventures that enable them to contribute effectively to the economy. However, during the Minister’s visit, cooperatives highlighted some challenges, including a lack of spare parts, maintenance capacity, resource capacity, and batteries to operate the machinery under varied weather conditions.

The government has acknowledged the current food deficit in the country and has since stopped any export of maize and mealie meal. Defence Minister Ambrose Lufuma announced at a joint media briefing in Lusaka that the defence and security wings have been directed to intensify patrols on the Copperbelt and Northern circuit where smuggling of mealie meal is rampant. Anti-smuggling teams have been formed in all affected districts, and the Zambia National Service and Zambia Correctional Service have been directed to deliver more mealie meal to the Copperbelt, Northern circuit, and other needy areas to stabilize prices.

Meanwhile, Lufuma clarified that the intended import of mealie meal from South Africa will not service the local market but will be exported directly to the Democratic Republic of Congo under security escort. Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Jack Mwiimbu also revealed during the briefing that he has received reports that farmers near border areas have sold their unharvested maize fields to foreigners. The government’s efforts to revive stalled solar milling plants and stabilize the mealie meal prices demonstrate its commitment to addressing the country’s food deficit and supporting local cooperatives.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The speeche under the carpet seriously could have connected with zesco not solar which only operate when very is a sun.Each province was suppose to have a government milling plant not these gymnastics you are talking.

  2. That’s is the problem with these clowns. These mills are working but they simply don’t have the capacity to produce enough to fill in the gap. These machines do not have energy storage, they work only when there’s sunshine. They are ideal for us individuals. You take your maize and it will be done for you…. the queues are always long.
    This man should not raise false hope.

  3. Most rural mills are under utilised. These equipments are close to communities and run noiselessly silent, but lack power backup. Power packs like those meant for EV are most needed to be charged with solar energy. Flooding communities close to farmers with such machines will eliminate strain on commercial millers’ production efforts to ease shortages.

    • But I doubt if these mills will be a solution to our maize shortage. Maize is the feeder input the country lacks for now.

  4. The time is ripe for GRZ to reconsider concerted efforts to diversify the stable food away one single crop……….

    Even national mixing maize meal with potatoes, cassava, rice or millet would be a good starting point……….

    All it takes is for an enemy to create a bio weapon to destroy the maize crop , and that is the end of zambia………..

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