State House wants growing of cassava commercialised

CASSAVA growing in Zambia must be revolutionarised to commercial levels as a way of diversifying the country’s economy whose mainstay has been copper, State House has said.

State House Permanent Secretary Emmanuel Chilubanama said President Edgar Lungu in his address during the 5th Session of the 11th National Assembly emphasised the diversification of the economy following the fall of the copper prices and the depreciation of the Kwacha and that time had come to begin the implementation of the Head of State vision.

Mr Chilubanama told the Daily Nation yesterday that the promotion commercializing the farming of cassava had its pilot project in North-Western Province through a private company, Premiercon Starch Company. Mr Chilubanama the Cassava-growing revolution would be spearheaded by small-scale farmers through the promotion of out-grower schemes with the support of Premiercon Starch Company Limited. He said Premiercon Starch Company Limited would work closely with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and other cooperating partners that would include the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa which he said had expressed desire to support the venture of commercial growing of cassava in Zambia.

He said a company called Dutch Agricultural Development and Trading Company (DADTCO) of Netherlands had expressed interest Premiercon Starch Company Limited with the involvement of the IDC.

Mr Chilubanama said his office had been tasked to facilitate  for a meeting of stakeholders that would include the ministries of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Agriculture, Cabinet Office and the IDC at State House at which the commercial growing of Cassava would be extensively be discussed.

He said DADTCO, the Netherlands company had been invited to come and make a full presentation of the operationalization of the Cassava growing revolution in North-Western Province as it had done in other countries such as Nigeria, Mozambique and Ghana where the project is said to have been a success.

And Premiercon Starch Company Limited chief executive officer Lubasi Yuyi who said his company had partnered DADTCO to establish a cassava processing company to be called Starch Processing Company which would be jointly owned and would be situated in Kalumbila district.

Mr Yuyi said Premiercon Starch Company Limited was going to set up cassava processing plants in Solwezi and that the starch would be supplied to Kalumbila Mine which uses it for the processing of copper.

He said Kalumbila Mine’s stock of starch was being sourced from outside Zambia but that with the setting up of cassava processing plants in Solwezi would boost the local cassava industry.