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Mega bio-fuel plant set for Kawambwa

THE establishment of a US$150 million bio-energy plant to extract ethanol from cassava will result in poverty reduction and generate incomes for farmers that produce the crop.
Sunbird Bio-Energy Investments has acquired 25,000 hectares in the Luena Farm Block in Kawambwa where cassava will be cultivated.
Both Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) director investments Agnes Chaila and Northern Tourism Circuit and Development chief regional planner Mwaka Kayeye confirmed the development.
Ms Chaila said about 600 direct jobs are expected to be created from the project, with 20,000 small-scale farmers targeted under the out-grower scheme
She said this at the business forums that was held on the sidelines of the the just ended 51st Zambia International Trade Fair that the company is investing US$150 million in the project in Kawambwa.
Ms Chaila said, “…20,000 hectares has so far been secured on behalf of the investor to produce cassava.”
In an interview, Ms Kayeye said the company is expected to start ethanol production.
The company will also engage over 20,000 small-scale farmers under an out grower scheme project to grow cassava.
Outlining the potential of the region comprising Luapula, Northern, Muchinga and part of Eastern Provinces, Ms Kayeye said the rural regions were a gem that has not been explored.
“Our aim is to promote development in these rural provinces that have great potential in agriculture, tourism, fisheries, minerals, rivers and waterfalls. Actually, if fully developed, Luapula can surpass Livingstone in tourism because of the immense potential and opportunities that lies around the area.
“This investor [Sunbird Bio-Energy Investments] has acquired land and will set up a plant to extract ethanol from cassava, hence adding value to the crop. This will result in job creation and increased incomes for farmers that will produce and supply the crop,” Ms Kayeye said.
She said the region has received favourable response from prospective investors who intend to explore various sectors.
“Apart from the Luena Farm Block, tourism sites such as waterfalls and nice sand beaches,” Ms Kayeye said.