The last sitting of the Twelfth session of the National Assembly which commenced in 2016 has resumed with an oral answer session.
And Minister of Commence, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma says the Presidential Solar Milling Initiative is meeting the intended objective.
Mr Yaluma said the Solar Milling Initiative is a gate way to rural industrialization as evidenced by low cost of mealie meal in the rural areas.
He cited Solar Milling plants in Kasama district that are selling a 50kg bag of mealie meal to Kasama girls’ secondary school at K110 while conventional mills are selling the same bag at between K145 to K150 as among the visible impacts.
The Minister of Commence, Trade and Industry was responding to the question from Chipili independent Member of Parliament Jewis Chabi who wanted to know how many solar milling plants have been installed and of those how many are operational and if they are meeting their intended purpose.
In Response, Mr Yaluma explained that by September 2019, 1558 solar milling plants had been installed countrywide of which 1307 were operational.
“The Solar Milling initiative is achieving the intended purpose and it has helped to spur rural industrialization, in most rural areas mealie meal is not sold beyond K120 for 50kg.In Kasama, mealie meal weighing 50kg is being sold at K110 to Kasama Girls while conventional millers are selling at K145 to K150 and the benefits are gradually being realized,” he charged.
And Mr Yaluma pointed out that vandalism has been the major setback to the development of the technology which has also been hampered by breakdowns and inadequate maize grain.
Meanwhile, Msanzala Member of Parliament Peter Daka wondered whether the Solar Milling plants could connect power to some house where they are placed.
In response Minister of Commence, Trade and Industry Christopher Yaluma explained that the Zambia Cooperative Federation has entered into an agreement with the Rural Electrification Authority for some houses in the country to be connected to solar power.
Earlier this month (March 2021), the Zambia Corporative Federation Director General James Chirwa explained that all the Presidential Solar Milling plants countrywide have been installed.
Mr Chirwa said the installation of the 1683 solar mills was a launch pad for rural industrialization and economic growth.
The US$200 million four year Presidential Milling Initiative project which rolled out in September 2015 and ZCF is the implementing agent.