His Excellency President Edgar Lungu has today launched the US$190 million biofuel project in Kawambwa, Luapula Province.The Project which is scheduled to start development in 2017 will produce 120 Million litres of bioethanol annually and up to 32MW of additional power. The project is expected to create 600 new jobs during the construction and operations of the plant.
Cassava will be the primary feedstock for the plant. President Lungu said “the project is poised to create a market for cassava, and create economic opportunities for over 20,000 local farmers under its out-grower scheme”. The Head of State said the project will enable Zambia to substitute imported fuel with biofuel creating an annual saving of US$100m. President Lungu praised the investors Sunbird Bioenergy Africa and its partners China New Energy and China State Construction for investing in the project. He said the investors have a good track record as evidenced by the more than 100 projects that they have successfully constructed across Asia.
His Excellency President Edgar Lungu officially launches the bioethanol project located near Kawambwa
His Excellency President Edgar Lungu with the investors and developers; China State Construction, Sunbird Bioenergy, Faber Capital and China New Energy
His Excellency President Edgar Lungu and Richard Bennett CEO of Sunbird Bioenergy plant the first cassava sticks for the out-grower program.
The President’s Speech in Full
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.