Edible oil industry players receive locally produced and refined palm oil with enthusiasm
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Zambeef’s Zampalm plantation in Muchinga Province has started commercial production of palm oil and its quality is already impressing buyers such as Global Industries.
The production and processing of crude palm oil is expected to drastically reduce the country’s dependence on crude palm oil and edible oil imports. Current imports stand at over US$70 million every year, a costly exercise for the country which consumes around 120,000 tonnes of cooking oil but only produces 30-50 percent of the total supply. More than half of Zambia’s edible oil consumption is imported from the Far East, East Africa and South Africa.
“We are very excited about the opportunities and possibilities the venture presents for both the company and the country,” said Zambeef Board Chairman Dr Jacob Mwanza. For the first time we will have quality palm oil being produced, refined and sold locally. This is a huge step towards industrialisation and raising the country’s agro-processing portfolio.”
Once fully operational, the plantation will contribute to substituting 70,000 tonnes of cooking oil imported into Zambia, saving the country around US$70 million (K511 million) in foreign exchange outflows every year. Zampalm will also, at a later stage, look at branching out into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) market, targeting countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola, which are also massive importers of the crude palm oil.
“We are very happy to be working with Zambeef to bring Zambian palm oil to the market. Their quality of oil is outstanding and the initiative will allow us to move away from crude palm oil imports and thus be able to be more competitive in terms of our finished products,” said Malolan Sampath, CEO of Global Industries Ltd.
Palm oil is the world’s most used and versatile vegetable oil. In addition to cooking oil, its derivatives are found in foods such as margarines and ice cream and is also used as a thickener, preservative and antioxidant; in personal care products such as shampoo, and cosmetics; industrial products such as lubricants paints and inks; and as a renewable fuel. The palm plant is the most efficient oil producing plant and can be harvested for 25 years and as long as the tree continues to yield a harvest.
The Zampalm project was launched in 2009 and currently has some 409,506 palms planted over an area of 2,873 hectares in the main plantation, with another 39,000 seedlings in the main and pre-nursery.
In 2015 Zampalm commissioned its first US$1 million crushing mill plant with a crushing capacity of two to three tonnes of fresh palm fruit per hour, producing a yield of around 18 per cent of crude palm oil. At current prices and at an average production of 3 to 3.5 tonnes per hectare Zampalm could generate more than US$170 million in revenue over the next decade.
Zampalm plans to further work with small-scale farmers in the area to set up an outgrower scheme to feed palm fruit into the Zampalm mill. This will allow local farmers in the area to participate and contribute towards edible oil production in the country.
“We expect to see an increase in demand for palm oil in Zambia as the country further develops and new industries and markets are created,” said Dr Mwanza.
About Zambeef Products Plc
Zambeef Products Plc is the largest integrated agribusiness and food processing company in Zambia and one of the largest in the region.
The group is principally involved in the production, processing, distribution and retailing of beef, chicken, pork, milk, dairy products, eggs, stockfeed and flour. The group also has large row cropping operations (principally maize, soya beans and wheat), planting 16,500 hectares in summer and 8,000 hectares in winter. The group is also expanding its West Africa operations in Nigeria and Ghana.
The company slaughters around 70,000 beef cattle, 6.75 million chickens and 70,000 pigs per annum, while also processing 16 million litres of milk, producing 150,000 tons of stockfeed, 60 million eggs, 78,000 pairs of shoes and processes 97,500 hides in its tannery per year.
It has 176 retail outlets throughout Zambia and West Africa.
Zambeef employs over 6,000 people with a total of K307 million paid in remuneration and benefits in the last year, and contributed K144m to Government in taxes and duties.
More information is available at www.zambeefplc.com
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