Over 3,000 smallholder farmers (of which 50% are women) are set to benefit from a $9 million ethanol and livestock feed processing plant by Zhongkai International Zambia Ltd, requiring a daily supply of 150 tonnes of cassava feedstock.
The company, which is engaged in biofuels production and whose operations are located in 7 miles area of Great North Road in Lusaka, has invested an additional $10 million to develop its farmer supply network and cassava production in order to meet its annual target of 50,000 tonnes of dry cassava chips. This will translate into 15 million liters of finished ethanol worth $18 million per year, to be used primarily for blending with petrol and in pharmaceuticals, food and other related industries, and also for export.
Musika partnered with Zhongkai International in order to provide an assured and transparent market for the cassava crop and improve the production and productivity of farmers. Musika provided both technical and logistical support to Zhongkai International to develop the ‘downstream’ supply chain and outreach program to support and manage key supply chain actors in the value-chain, including smallholder farmers and cassava aggregators (or intermediaries).
Being the second large company, apart from Zambian Breweries (ZB), that Musika has partnered with in developing the cassava value-chain, Zhongkai International has engaged four ZB intermediaries in Northern and Luapula Provinces to aggregate the cassava for onward transportation to Lusaka. It has also made progress in developing newer aggregation points in ‘greenfield’ areas of Western, Central and Muchinga provinces.
The company’s long term strategy aims at creating a continuous supply of traceable, high-quality cassava chips throughout the season through the establishment of innovation service centers, and also setting up mini Ethanol plants in selected regions as a way of taking the market closer to the farmers’ doorstep.
Since the development of the dried cassava chip supply chain in July 2019, Zhongkai International has so far purchased over 1,500 tonnes of the crop worth $196,000, translating into additional income for farmers.
“Our partnership with Zhongkai International is very strategic to achieving our objective of improving the range of crop production opportunities for smallholders such as legumes and drought-tolerant crops like groundnuts, cowpeas, pigeon peas, and cassava, to enhance income and reduce multiple risks, particularly those presented by climate change,” said Musika’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Pamela Hamasaka.