By Wallace Mawire
Zambeef’s Zampalm plantation in Muchinga Province in Zambia has
started commercial production of palm oil and its quality is already
impressing buyers such as Global Industries, according to a
It is reported that the production and processing of crude palm oil
is expected to drastically reduce the country’s dependence on crude
palm oil and edible oil imports.
Zambia’s current imports stand at over $70 million every year, a
costly exercise for the country which consumes around 120,000 tonnes
of cooking oil but only produces 30 to 50% of the total supply.
More than half of Zambia’s edible oil consumption is imported from
the Far East, East Africa and South Africa.
“We are very excited about the opportunities and possibilities the
venture presents for both the company and the country,” said Zambeef
Board Chairman Dr Jacob Mwanza.
He said that for the first time the country will have quality palm
oil being produced, refined and sold locally. “This is a huge step
towards industrialisation and raising the country’s agro-processing
It is added that once fully operational, the plantation will
contribute to substituting 70,000 tonnes of cooking oil imported into
Zambia, saving the country around $70 million (K511 million) in
foreign exchange outflows every year.
Zampalm will also, at a later stage, look at branching out into the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) market, targeting
countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola,
which are also massive importers of the crude palm oil.
“We are very happy to be working with Zambeef to bring Zambian palm
oil to the market. Their quality of oil is outstanding and the
initiative will allow us to move away from crude palm oil imports and
thus be able to be more competitive in terms of our finished
products,” said Malolan Sampath, CEO of Global Industries Ltd
Palm oil is the world’s most used and versatile vegetable oil.
addition to cooking oil, its derivatives are found in foods such as
margarines and ice cream and is also used as a thickener, preservative
and antioxidant; in personal care products such as shampoo, and
cosmetics, industrial products such as lubricants paints and inks, and
as a renewable fuel.
The palm plant is the most efficient oil producing plant and can be
harvested for 25 years and as long as the tree continues to yield a
The Zampalm project was launched in 2009 and currently has some
409,506 palms planted over an area of 2,873 hectares in the main
plantation, with another 39,000 seedlings in the main and pre-nursery.
In 2015 Zampalm commissioned its first US$1 million crushing mill
plant with a crushing capacity of two to three tonnes of fresh palm
fruit per hour, producing a yield of around 18 per cent of crude palm
oil. At current prices and at an average production of 3 to 3.5 tonnes
per hectare Zampalm could generate more than $170 million in revenue
over the next decade.
Zampalm plans to further work with small-scale farmers in the area to
set up an outgrower scheme to feed palm fruit into the Zampalm mill.
This will allow local farmers in the area to participate and
contribute towards edible oil production in the country.
“We expect to see an increase in demand for palm oil in Zambia as the
country further develops and new industries and markets are created,”
said Dr Mwanza.