Govt pledges support for $2.7bn West sugar project

GOVERNMENT will continue to support development projects such as the sugar plantation in Western Province to improve the livelihood of the people, says Shangombo district commissioner Captain Lawrence Nyambe.

The Programme Against Discrimination in Communities (PADIC) has embarked on a US$2.7 billion joint venture sugar project in the Shangombo area and was earmarked for commissioning soon. Capt. Nyambe said the people of Shangombo had been eagerly waiting for the project to commence as it would be the engine of development in the district.

He said such projects were aimed at changing the lives of the local people.

Capt. Nyambe said the Government would do everything possible to ensure that the project succeeded and would work together with PADIC as the sugar project was important to the Government and the people of Shangombo.

And Programme Against Discrimination in Communities executive director Sitali Sitali said the organisation had already engaged two companies for the construction of the modern sugar refinery and water reticulation for the Shangombo sugarcane plantation.

Mr Sitali said the water reticulation system would cost about US$92 million and also stressed the need for the contractor to partner with the Western Water and Sewerage Company Limited, who were the operators of the water system in the province.

He said the WWSC would ensure that the quantity and quality of water to be supplied to the plantation would meet the acceptable standard to the end users.

Mr Sitali said the soil samples taken and tested so far in the project area indicated that sugarcane production could do well.

He said when the plantation would be up and running with proper management of resources, the plant was expected to generate an income in excess of US$120 million annually in the first five years.

“Swengwa, a Zambian construction company, has been engaged by PADIC – Shangombo Sugar Project to design, build and commission the whole water reticulation system for the sugar plantation.

‘‘This will involve water for irrigation and domestic consumption at the plantation housing estate to be sourced from the Cuondo River along the border with Angola and from boreholes, while Jing De Zham Enterprises Limited is to construct the processing factory,” he said.

Mr Sitali disclosed that out of the 30,000 hectares of land for the plantation, the project scope included about 30 hectares of land for the construction of a modern sugar processing factory which was expected to crush about 6,000,000 tonnes of cane per year and producing about 800,000 metric tonnes of sugar.