Major plans have been announced to set up milling plants across selected provincial areas of Zambia to mill maize grown by cooperative societies.
The huge development plans have been outlined by the Zambia Cooperative Federation (ZCF) which has called on the government and all stakeholders for backing.
Milling has been identified by the Federation as the first priority in the value addition chain and last year it set about drawing up a five-year master plan.
Under the scheme, the Federation wants to introduce small industries in all district cooperatives across the country to add value to various farm produce.
The Federation’s mes Chirwa said milling machines would be bought from China and that the cooperative had chosen milling after looking at its potential in contributing to the economic growth of the country.
Once all the milling plants are operational, all the producing provinces would become self-sufficient in mealie meal, which would help to reduce the price of the commodity.
He said: "The whole idea is that we want to make sure that food is not 'imported' by producing provinces but that they become self-sufficient unlike the situation whereby maize is grown and sent to central milling plants only to bring it back finished products to the same areas that produced the maize.
"ZCF has prioritised milling because there is a lot of demand from consumers and we think this will reduce the high mealie meal prices we have been experiencing across the country.”
Second on the Federation’s list of priorities was acquiring direct import of fertiliser from China which would help members on price and other areas in the value-addition chain would e to import small machines to use in the production of mangoes and other fruits.