Zambia Sugar outer-grower scheme wins Govt kudos

THE K30 million Zambia Sugar Company outer-grower programme for the small-holder farmers has been a huge success, says Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda.

Mr Lubinda said the pr0ject was a clear demonstration of the company’s commitment to alleviate poverty.

He said the farmers scheme to which the Finnish government contributed K17,341, 378 through the African Development Bank ( AfDB), was also a demonstration of how the Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) could succeed if implemented well.

He was speaking at the commemoration of the Manyonyo, one of Zambia Sugar out grower scheme’s first cane harvest in Nega Nega of Chikankanta district.

“It is clear that the Manyonyo project will impact positively on the lives of the 145 smallholders who  are now going to be can suppliers to the Zambia Sugar company,

“As Government,we are pleased that this will result in increasing incomes and wealth among the smallholders,” he said.

He said Government acknowledged all the contributions that Zambia sugar was making towards the development of the scheme.

Mr Lubinda also advised farmers to re-invest their revenue.

And Zambia Sugar managing director Rebecca Katowa said the scheme consisted of A,B and C, and that block C of 595 hectares had been completed with 189 hectares of sugar cane to be harvested this season.

Ms Katowa said block C was a bankable project and should be attractive to banks in extending seasonal loans.

“The total value of seed cane provided by Zambia Sugar is valued at K181 213.60. The recently commissioned Nakambala refinery is a testimony to this pledge as our out-grower schemes are expected to supply  the extra sugar cane required,” she said

She said  the small holder schemes were foremost and best entrepreneurial development initiatives that assured real empowerment not only for the farmers participating but also for the families and nearby communities.

Ms Katowa called upon potential funders to partner with Government to see the remaining blocks A and B of the Manyonyo smallholder scheme developed while getting the baton from Zambia Sugar.

And AfDB representative Lewis Bangwe said the partnership had demonstrated enormous potential for empowering smallholder farmers through irrigation.

Mr Bangwe said AfDB had approved euro1.4 to enable Government undertake pre-feasibility  studies on 25 smallholder irrigation schemes.

He said the contribution was enmarked to scale up investments in climate smart irrigated commercial agriculture.