Facility promises to provide a growing market for small-scale farmers
Integrated agribusiness giant Zambeef Products plc is set to treble its milk processing operations following the opening of a new US$3 million state-of-the-art dairy plant today (November 22).
Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Hon. Emmanuel Chenda officially opened the new Zam Milk facility in Chisamba, accompanied by Zambeef chairman Dr Jacob Mwanza, other board directors, and dignitaries including the South African High Commissioner H.E. Piet Mathebe, Zambia National Farmers’ Union President Dr Evelyn Nguleka and Executive Director Ndambo Ndambo, and Zambia Association of Manufacturers President Dr Bright Chugu.
The minister was particularly pleased by the opportunities that the new plant afforded for small-scale dairy farmers, who will be able to sell more milk to the company for processing into full-cream milk, semi-skimmed milk, butter, cheese and ZamSip drinking yoghurt.
“Zambeef’s decision to expand its operations in Zambia serves as an indicator of Zambia’s great and vibrant economic future. Government appreciates and supports investments that enhance economic growth and the business opportunities that come with it. This investment is expected to trigger economic growth, transfer modern technologies, skills development and improved standards of living to our people, especially small-scale dairy farmers,” said Hon. Chenda.
Zam Milk currently has a processing capacity of 35,000 litres of milk per day, supplied mostly from the company’s own Kalundu Dairy Farm, with just 10 percent of the raw milk intake supplied by small-scale dairy farmers in the surrounding area.
The new hi-tech plant will take capacity to 100,000 litres per day, massively increasing the demand of raw milk supplied by local smallholders, who are expected to see their household incomes rise as a result.
Some 1,000 indirect jobs are projected to be created by the provision of a guaranteed market for raw milk for small-scale farmers.
“Zambeef plays a pivotal role in the rural communities across Zambia. For many years the company has provided a market to small-scale farmers for their cattle. Today we take this a step further by boosting demand for their raw milk,” said Zambeef chairman Dr Jacob Mwanza.
“The only way of supplying that quantity of raw material into the plant is to enlist the support of the small-scale farmers in the surrounding areas to supplement Zambeef’s existing production at Kalundu. It’s going to mean good business for those local entrepreneurs, as Zam Milk can guarantee them a market for their milk. That can only be good news for their families and local communities too,” he added.
Average milk consumption in Zambia is relatively low, at around 19 to 25 litres per person per year; Zambeef’s latest investment is expected to contribute to a significant increase in that figure, resulting in improved nutrition levels and better health for ordinary people.
The new processing system is also expected to improve the shelf-life of milk for consumers.
The company’s strategy has been to plan ahead and put in place the facilities to ensure production is increased to meet demand, which is currently out-stripping supply.
Zambeef’s investment of more than US$3 million in plant and machinery highlights the company’s on-going commitment to investing in the growth of the country’s agribusiness sector.
About Zambeef Products Plc
Zambeef Products Plc is the largest integrated agribusinesses in Zambia.
The group is principally involved in the production, processing, distribution and retailing of beef, chicken, pork, milk, dairy products, eggs, edible oils, stock feed, flour and bread. The group also has large row cropping operations (principally maize, soya beans and wheat), with approximately 8,350 hectares of row crops under irrigation and 8,650 hectares of rain-fed/dry-land crops available for planting each year. The group is also in the process of rolling out its West Africa expansion in Nigeria and Ghana, as well as developing a palm project in Zambia.
The company has 118 retail outlets throughout the country, along with three wholesale depots.
More information is available at www.zambeefplc.com