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Chief Mabumba at the launch of Zambian Breweries’ Chembe cassava project with Agriculture Minister Hon. Michael Katambo (right), Luapula Provincial Minister Hon. Nickson Chilangwa and Zambian Breweries Director of Corporate Affairs Ezekiel Sekele.

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Elated by the readily available market of cassava facilitated by Zambian Breweries’ purchasing of cassava from small-scale farmers in Luapula Province, Chief Mabumba has expressed optimism that the levels of prosperity will increase in his Chiefdom. Mabumba Chiefdom is part of Mansa East agriculture camp, which also comprises Kale, Nsonga, Musaila, Ndoba, Mibenge and Mansa Resettlement Scheme.

Cassava farmers in Luapula with their crop for Zambian Breweries

Zambian Breweries launched its cassava project in 2017 and has since bought over 5,000 tonnes of dried cassava chips from over 4,000 small-scale farmers in Luapula Province. Speaking during the launch of the company’s high-tech Chembe Project, Chief Mabumba expressed happiness that the attitude of growing cassava for mere consumption had changed due to the company’s initiative of buying cassava for the brewing of its affordable Eagle Lager.

Cassava farmers in Luapula prepare their crop for sale to Zambian Breweries

“The agriculture industry has undergone transformation. Cassava was only farmed for consumption but has now been commercialised by Zambian Breweries,” he said. Zambian Breweries with its partners Musika (Zambia) and BanQu of the United Stated of America on August 29, 2018 launched a system called the Chembe Project that will enable small-scale farmers to use global position satellite (GPS) to be identified by agents via their mobile phones and will verify quantity and amount of bags sold in the cassava transaction. The system will help the assessment of the yield quality, increase demand and align with the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals by promoting financial inclusion as Zambian Breweries are in talks with micro finance institutions and banks to enable the system’s ability to redirect cash sales into farmers’ individual accounts.

Cassava farmers in Luapula prepare their crop for sale to Zambian Breweries

“With the launch of this new system BanQu and locally referred to as Chembe Project, our people will wake up and realise that growing cassava will boost the nation’s economy,” Chief Mabumba explained. “I am happy that grass thatching of houses in my chiefdom is slowly disappearing as farmers are now able to build good houses with nice roofing sheets. The livelihood of my people is gradually changing,” he said. His Royal Highness also appreciated that women in his chiefdom have over the years gained interest in agriculture activities and emphasised that his doors are open to women in his chiefdom to own land to prevent property and land grabbing in an event their spouses die.

“If I go round my chiefdom, a lot of small cassava fields are being managed by women and will lead the way by guiding the entire household to go and cultivate with them in the fields. Inasmuch as they may own land together with their husbands, I encourage them to own their own fields; not to divide the family, but to have a sense of security during property grabbing wrangles,” Chief Mabumba said. Chief Mabumba was pleased that Eagle Beer was used as a strategic beverage to counter the dangerous and potent tujilijili and junta by its affordability and low alcohol content. The Chief thanked Zambian Breweries for the cassava initiative as it has empowered people in the rural areas and has created indirect jobs as over 4,000 farmers have been reached in Luapula Province.