Zambian Breweries’ support for cassava farmers cheers Parliamentary Committee

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The Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture has given the thumbs up to Zambian Breweries’ engagement with cassava farmers in Luapula Province to ensure value addition of the crop.

Speaking when the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and the representatives from Zambian Breweries and Musika paid a courtesy call on Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Dr Felix Phiri, Kaputa Member of Parliament and chairperson of the committee Maxas Ng’onga said the project would receive support from parliamentarians.

“The partnership between Zambian Breweries and many other partners will definitely receive our support. As parliamentarians, this is what we want because this is benefitting our small-scale farmers,” said Ng’onga.

He acknowledged the position of the Luapula Provincial Office in the stakeholder equation and appealed to the Permanent Secretary and the provincial office to support the engagement to realise Zambia’s vision and national development programmes.

The Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Dr Felix Phiri said the provincial leadership was keen to transform Luapula into a food basket by 2025, and that the recent boom in investment could be traced to the road expansion works in the province.

“Recently, we have seen a number of investors taking advantage of the province’s natural resources and cassava. The benefits include recent investment in bio-fuel and other commodities. What this means is that we need to take advantage of various partnerships that are coming to the province,’ said Dr. Phiri.

“We encourage our Members of Parliament to pass laws and legislation that are supportive of business ventures, particularly peasant farmers who we are trying to move out of poverty,” he added.

During the courtesy call, Zambian Breweries Corporate Affairs Director Ezekiel Sekele said the company wanted to do more and called on other companies to invest in cassava in order to grow the market and benefit the small-scale famers in the region.

Sekele added that Zambian Breweries carried out an ambitious cassava stakeholder engagement workshop in Lusaka earlier this year, which attracted representatives from the manufacturing and mining sectors, researchers, farmers’ groups, government and financial institutions to kick start multi-industrial recommendations that would enhance the diversification of the cassava crop by a cross-section of both private and public players. The objective was to widen the market of buyers and create value addition for the raw material. This in turn will have the advantage of benefitting the small scale farmers with more income.

“The workshop was about having more off-takers from different sectors to talk about the opportunities that cassava has. There is so much that we can use cassava for, from clear beer production to energy, flour, glue, medicinal purposes, ethanol and even mealie meal production. Working together, through mutually beneficially partnerships, will make us realise these initiatives, create more employment and sustain livelihoods of many people,” said Sekele.

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31