Zambia, Kawambwa

H.E President Lungu of Zambia launched the Kawambwa ethanol and power project in December 2015. Zambia has recently experienced a severe recession due to the fall in copper prices and is seeking to diversify the economy into value-added agriculture. This project directly contributes to the governments objectives by with:

  • A cassava out-grower program for up tp 20,000 rural farmers
  • Import substitution of 120 million litres of petroleum per year, delivering a foreign exchange saving of approximately $100m
  • 32 MW of power that can be utilised by local businesses or exported to the national grid
  • 600 skilled jobs at the factory and in administration

Sustainability

The project has been designed and developed as a benchmark for sustainable investment in Africa and in accordance with EU, World Bank and African Development Bank standards.


Agriculture

Sunbird Bioenergy has acquired 20,000 Ha of land on the Luena Farm Block to develop a cassava nursery and rural out-grower program. The company has designed an agricultural program that is forecast to produce 600,000 tonnes of cassava feedstock for the bioethanol plant. The cassava nursery is expected to employee 80 specialist workers, whilst the majority of the cassava will be produced by up to 20,000 small scale farmers and rural out-growers.

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Ethanol and Power Plant

The design of the biorefinery and power plant is based upon a project recently completed by China New Energy in Thailand. The plant is capable of processing multiple feedstocks including cassava, molasses and sugarcane into anhydrous bioethanol for the transportation fuel market and potable alcohol for consumption. The plant is designed to produce 120 million litres of bioethanol per annum and will have an electricity production capacity of 32MW.

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Out-Grower Program

Cassava has been selected as a sustainable feedstock for the project, because it is easy to grow and is regarded as participative feedstock because the economics are the same for small scale farmers and industrial farmers alike making it suitable for out-grower programs in Africa. Sunbird Bioenergy is developing an innovative out-grower program that will enable small-scale rural farmers to start their own sustainable business producing and selling cassava feedstock to the company for the life of the plant. The program was launched by the symbolic planting of cassava by His Excellency President Lungu and Richard Bennett the CEO of Sunbird Bioenergy.

HE President Lungu and Richard Bennett Sunbird Bioenergy Africa


The President’s Speech

THE DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE PATRIOTIC FRONT & OTHER MCCs,
THE ACTING MINISTER OF ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT,
THE PROVINCIAL MINISTER, LUAPULA PROVINCE,
HONOURABLE CABINET MINISTERS AND DEPUTY MINISTERS PRESENT,
YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS,
SENIOR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS,
HIS EXCELLENCY MR YANG YOUMING, CHINESE AMBASSADOR TO ZAMBIA
SUNBIRD BIOENERGY AFRICA OFFICIALS
CHINA NEW ENERGY LIMITED AND CHINA STATE CONSTRUCTION OFFICIALS
DISTINGUISHED GUESTS,
MEMBERS OF THE PRESS,
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

I am greatly humbled to be here today to grace this ground breaking ceremony to commence the first ever Cassava Ethanol project in Kawambwa.

This is an important development for our country and it is in line with government policy to diversify away from the mining sector.

This project will enable us to substitute imported fuel with Biofuel to serve on the huge outlay on imported petroleum products. In addition, the project is poised to create a market for cassava for over 20,000 local farmers. This is besides, the direct job opportunities for our own people in the surrounding area.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to note that Sunbird Bioenergy Africa have
committed themselves to establish this important processing plant which at its full capacity will be able to produce 120 million litres of Bio-ethanol equivalent to 20 percent of Zambia’s petrol requirements.

I am reliably informed that Sunbird Bioenergy Africa and its partners China New Energy and China State Construction have an impressive track record of developing projects such as this. This is evidenced by more than 100 projects that the companies have successfully constructed across Asia.

Prior to this, a Government team was sent to appreciate the success story of the similar project in Thailand. Among the successes recorded on this project in Thailand includes:

1) Creation of thousands of jobs for rural farmers with production levelsin excess of 600,000 tonnes of cassava each year;

2) Production of over 120 million litres of Bioethanol each year and
3) Creation of more than 500 direct employment opportunities in management, engineering, accounts and other fields.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Sunbird Bioenergy has committed itself to replicating the project in Thailand, here in Kawambwa.

As Government we are extremely grateful that management of Sunbird Bioenergy Africa chose Kawambwa district for this critical project.

To this effect, my Government has allocated 20,000 Ha of land on the Luena farm block for the development of a nucleus farm and out-grower programme which will produce more than 600,000 tonnes of Cassava each year for the plant.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
With this new project, there is need for Ministry of Agriculture to work with Sunbird Bioenergy Africa to design an out-grower programme aimed at maximising participation of as many rural farmers as possible.

I am informed that the construction of the plant will commence in 2016 while production is expected to begin 2017. I wish to urge management to ensure that the implementation programme is expedited and adhered to for us to quickly see the benefits of this project.

With increased power supply in the northern circuit, I am hopeful that more investment such as this will be attracted to set up in this region.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In conclusion I wish to once more commend Sunbird Bioenergy Africa and its partners for taking economic development to the rural part of our country. This will tremendously improve the lives of our people.

May I also take this opportunity to thank your royal highness for embracing this project in your area. My sincere hope is that your counterparts in other parts of the country will emulate your resolve to open up your area to development.

It is now my singular honour and privilege to declare the commencement of this project.

May the Almighty God bless you all.
I thank you.