President Edgar Lungu says the PF government has prioritised the construction of milling plants in rural areas in order to mitigate the challenges people face in accessing maize products.

Speaking in Chongwe, Wednesday, at the ground breaking ceremony for the construction of 13 milling plants, president Lungu said the PF was still a pro-poor party which was committed to delivering development to all parts of the country.

He said there was no reason for mealie meal prices to be high when Maize was been produced locally.

“My government is resolved to addressing discrepancies in the mealie meal price which are evident especially in our country’s rural areas. We are also committed to rendering necessary support to you the project implementers to ensure that this life changing project is delivered within the stipulated time frame. There is no reason at all for the mealie meal price to remain high when maize is locally produced. Therefore, with this project, we expect more benefits to accrue to our people. it is in our interest to ensure that we eliminate hunger especially among our hard working brothers and sisters in rural areas,” Lungu said.

“The patriotic front government will not shift from its pro-poor policies as this is the mandate upon which we were put into power by the Zambian people. Our commitment to changing the face of this country is also evident in the innumerable infrastructure projects which we have implemented and are still doing so.”

He said government was constructing milling plants in rural areas in order to lessen the challenges people face in accessing maize products.

“My government, your government, the patriotic front government, being a pro-poor government, has prioritised the construction of these milling plants in rural areas to mitigate some of the challenges faced by our people in accessing maize products. Currently, most maize milling companies are located along the line of rail statistics indicate that out of about 50 milling plants dotted across the country, over 39 are in cities and towns. we cannot continue to deny our people such facilities on account of the areas where they live,” Lungu said.

“There is no doubt that once completed the milling plants will accrue immense benefits to our rural communities. Other than reducing the cost of production for our staple food, the positioning of the milling plants in some of the rural areas will create job opportunities for the local people who will be employed to work in the plants.”

He stated that the milling plant in Chongwe would also be used as a training facility for human resource.

“The milling plant to be constructed at this site will also be a training facility for human resource who will be working in milling plants in the country. This will result in increased efficiency of personnel working in the milling industry across the country. Those who will be trained here will share the acquired knowledge and expertise with their colleagues in other milling facilities in the country,” Lungu said.

“I am happy to note that the three plants to be constructed in the first phase will have a combined maximum production capacity of 520 tonnes per day translating into 10,400 by 25 kilogramme bags of mealie meal per day. the plants will also take approximately 21 months to become operational. Out of the 13 milling plants which will be constructed under the presidential milling plant initiative, six (06) will be managed by the Zambia national service. The 13 milling plants whose construction I am launching today will be located in Kaoma in Western Province, Monze and Mazabuka in Southern Province, Chipata in Eastern Province, Mpika in Muchinga Province, and Solwezi in North Western Province, Mumbwa and Kapiri Mposhi in Central Province, Luanshya and Kalulushi in the Copperbelt Province, Mansa in Luapula Province, Chongwe in Lusaka Province and Kasama in Northern Province.”

And President Lungu thanked the Chinese government for partnering with the Zambian government in the construction of the milling plants.

“To the Chinese government who will partner with us on this project, on behalf of the Zambian government, the people of Zambia and indeed on my own behalf, I wish to sincerely thank you for this partnership. It is always comforting to be assured that in you we have an all weather-friend. let us continue with this long time friendship for the good of our peoples,” said President Lungu.