LUSAKA, (The Southern African Times) – A Chinese firm and a Zambian organization on Wednesday signed an agreement aimed at commercialising the production of cassava growing for industrial use.
Zhongkai International Limited, the Chinese firm, signed the deal with Chifwani Concepts in which Zhongkai International will be buying cassava from farmers in the northern part of the country for use in its production of various products.
The agreement will initially benefit over 1,000 mainly smallholder farmers in northern Zambia’s Kasama district before venturing to other parts of the country.
Chen Guiping, the company’s chief executive officer said the partnership will support its 200 tons a day production plant requires huge quantities of cassava.
He said farmers will now have a ready market for their produce.
“We are going to engage many farmers because our plant has a very big capacity. We are also planning to construct another plant,” he said.
The company is involved in the production of ethanol, biofuel, glue, among other products.
According to him, the company decided to set base in Zambia after a survey conducted in several African countries established that the country’s cassava was of good quality.
Emmanuel Mwamba, the proponent of the cassava project, said his organization was acting as a link between farmers and commercial entities.
He said the partnership with the Chinese firm was vital as it comes at a time when the government was promoting the diversification of the economy from dependence on copper.
He said cassava growing, which has historically been grown as a consumption crop, will now be commercially viable as farmers will have a ready market.
He said the organization intends to promote the growth of cassava on a large scale in all parts of the country because farmers have a ready market.
Mwamba, who is also Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union, has since urged farmers to venture into massive production of cassava as the commercial use of the crop was growing.