CHIPATA, Zambia (Xinhua) --
Residents of Chipata town in eastern Zambia have hailed the solar-powered
milling plants installed in the area for availing cheaper mealie-meal and
providing jobs for locals.
to install solar-powered milling plants was one of the outcomes of Zambian
President Edgar Lungu’s visit to China in March 2015.
solar-powered milling plants were procured under a loan from the China
Development Bank and in total, about 2,000 plants will be installed across the
southern African nation.
2015, the installation is being undertaken by the Zambia Cooperative Federation
(ZCF) and as of last year, 250 had been installed across the country.
plants are expected to create about 3,000 jobs for local people.
told Xinhua correspondents who visited some of the plants on the eastern
outskirts of the town that the plants had come at a right time to ease problems
such as long distance they used to cover to have their maize milled.
“The plant is
near my house, so I don’t need to look for any transport like before for me to
take my maize for milling. This is good and we hope more plants could be brought
here,” one resident Elizabeth Phiri told Xinhua.
resident Beatrice Phiri told Xinhua that the solar-powered plant were more
reliable compared to the other hammer mills which use electricity and diesel.
“In the past
if there is no electricity, we had problems to take our maize for milling.
Sometimes you would go to the hammer mill and find that there is no diesel,” she
residents also praised the solar-powered plants for being cheaper than the other
an operator of one of the plants, said the plant started operating in June last
year, when the ZCF provided some maize that enabled them to sell the mealie-meal
at a cheaper price.
said this has changed as the price at which mealie meal was being sold has
slightly gone up after the maize supply from ZCF stopped.
are selling a 25 kilogram of breakfast mealie meal at 85 Kwacha(about 8.6 U.S.
dollars) while roller meal is at 80 kwacha. But when we started with ZCF maize
we were selling at 66 kwacha,” he said.
expressed optimism that the price will come down once the new maize comes on the
market in the next few months.
milling maize for sell, the plant also mills maize for other people as well as
sells bran, a by-product in the milling process that is sold to farmers and
local people who use it as feedstock for their animals.