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Milling plants grinding down prices

Solar Milling Plant.

KELVIN MBEWE, Lusaka
THE Zambia Co-operative Federation (ZCF) says solar milling plants that are being installed across the country, are reducing mealie-meal prices by more than 50 percent and empowering its members.
ZCF manager for operations and projects, Derrick Sokoni, said this in an interview yesterday.
Mr Sokoni said the benefits are evident in the reduction of mealie- meal prices from K100 to K45 in Kasama and surrounding areas.
“The solar milling plants are reducing the price of mealie-meal by more than 50 percent. An example is what is happening in Kasama, where mealie-meal is now fetching K45 from K100. In other areas where there is a lot of maize production, mealie-meal prices will be much lower,” he said.
Mr Sokoni said the distribution of the solar milling plants is being done according to the capacity of an area to grow maize.
He said areas without maize production, like some parts of Western Province will receive conventional mills, which help farmers process their rice.
Mr Sokoni said solar milling plants are a solution to the effects of power outages because they do not need to be installed along the national grid.
“The most fascinating thing about these solar milling plants is they can be set up anywhere, rural or urban, as long as there is sunlight available. They do not rely on Zesco, but solar energy. Only the clouds will load shed these machines,” he said.
Mr Sokoni said in a worst case scenario, the solar milling plants can use a battery as an alternative measure when there is no sunlight.
He said ZCF is closely monitoring the co-operatives that have already received the solar milling plants to ensure there is accountability.
“We have put in place some monitoring mechanisms to ensure that these milling plants are not abused. We will be frequenting the co-operatives. Our eyes are on the districts and provincial heads of these cooperatives,” he said.


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