TWO MINISTERS TOUR ZAMBIAN BREWERIES SITES
Company recognised for its contribution to the economy
Lusaka, Zambia – Zambian Breweries’ unique role in the growth of the economy was recognised today (July 2) when the company hosted a dual-site visit to its operations by two Cabinet ministers.
Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Hon. Given Lubinda and Minister of Labour Hon. Fackson Shamenda spent a day inspecting the company’s Ndola brewery and construction work at the site of its new barley maltings site in the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ).
The ministers were accompanied by representatives from the Office of the President and the Ministry of Finance.
Hon. Lubinda said: “I am handsomely impressed by the quality of the plant. Everything is so orderly. I was looking at the performance charts and I saw that the plant is really up to standard in terms of maintaining levels of performance and I saw the faces of the people, all of them smiling. I am particularly delighted to learn they are increasing the uptake of cassava.”
His sentiments were shared by Hon. Shamenda, who added “This is magnificent. It needs a lot of support.”
The ministers were accompanied on their tour by Mark Bowman, Managing Director Africa of SABMiller, Zambian Breweries’ parent company, along with Zambian Breweries Managing Director Annabelle Degroot.
“SABMiller is one of the major non-mining investors in Zambia. The unique nature of our business in Africa is our recognition of our role in the agricultural value chain. We are a trusted partner and look for support from the government to help drive our contribution to economic growth. Our role is to broaden the appeal of beer and stable politics and tax regimes helps drive that growth,” said Mr Bowman.
The delegation spent the morning touring Zambian Breweries Ndola brewery where they heard about the important role that the company plays in the agriculture chain, buying maize, sorghum, barley and cassava from local farmers as they key ingredients for beer.
Hon. Lubinda was particularly interested in the company’s recent move to incorporate cassava into its brewing of Eagle lager, which now comprises 25 percent cassava and 75 percent sorghum.
In addition to supporting crop production, the Zambian Breweries and National Breweries group provides employment for more than 2,000 people, as well has thousands more opportunities for distributors and retailers.
In the afternoon Hon. Lubinda and Shamenda toured Zambian Breweries US$32 million (K224 million) malting’s plant in Lusaka, which is on course to start operations in the first quarter of 2016.
Construction work on the new factory is at an advanced stage, and will enable the company to process locally grown barley into the malt base for brewing the company’s Mosi and Castle beer.
Work on the new maltings plant began in January this year and malt production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016. The plant has a maximum capacity of 15,000 tonnes of finished malt per year, creating a surplus over the brewery’s current demand of 10,000 tonnes and thus producing a surplus that can be exported, explained Technical Director Franz Schepping, who explained the processes to the ministers.
The plant will enable Zambian Breweries to add value within Zambia to barley – all of which is bought from local farmers in Zambia. Currently the company exports its barley to Zimbabwe for malting and then imports it back to Zambia.
The barley will be stored in ten massive 1,500 tonne-silos, each 32 metres high, which involved the country’s largest single pour of concrete – 1,800 cubic metres – for their foundations.
The company’s multi-million dollar investment in the malting plant is part of the group’s wider commitment to long-term investment in Zambia.