Three Foreign Firms, ZCF to Set Up Milling Plants

AT LEAST three foreign companies have expressed interest to work with the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) in establishing milling plants in 25 maize producer districts in the country.

ZCF director general James Chirwa said in an interview in Lusaka that the ZCF had received inquiries from three foreign companies expressing interest to work with the federation.

Mr Chirwa named the companies as Prokop of Czech Republic, Roncaglia of Italy and China’s Hebei Africa (HEA) Machinery Company Limited which is one of the largest milling plant producers in the world.

He said the federation required US$54.2 million for 25 million plants, but that ZCF was currently scouting for an initial US$10 million to do the first five in five districts.

“We need about US$10 million to install the first milling plants in maize producer districts.

HEA is ready to move in and install the milling plants if only we can find US$4 million,” Mr Chirwa said.

Mr Chirwa said one good part with HEA is that the company, which recently came into the country, had already signed a working contract with ZCF and had since issued the federation with terms and conditions of finance.

He said once ZCF commits itself by paying 40 per cent, within four months HEA would have completed setting up four milling plants.

HEA the company which produces 5000 milling equipment annually has installed 17,000 plants across the world.

Mr Chirwa noted that milling plants project still remained a priority as far as ZCF was concerned for one simple reason.

“That we want to offer solution to a challenge of high mealie meal prices which has remained unresolved for a long time.

Despite Zambia recording bumper harvest, the price of mealie meal has remained very high and yet the laws of supply and demand require that when you have plenty of commodities the prices of that particular commodity must come down, but we have failed to bring down the price of mealie-meal,” he said.

ZCF plans to set 25 milling plants in 25 maize producer districts carefully selected because of their consistence in terms of maize production.

Mr Chirwa said the project has generated a lot of interest from manufacturers of milling plants abroad.

He, however, said ZCF challenge still remain, that they do not have adequate security to pledge for borrowing.

Mr Chirwa said the federation was getting such kind of inquiries because the manufacturers believed that this was the way to go and the need to have the project running cannot be overemphasised.

ZCF intends to run the project as an independent entity with structures of a mini board of directors.

Recently, Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) also expressed interest in funding ZCF for establishment three milling plants in the country.

Source : The Times of Zambia

Leave a Reply