ZAMBIA: Malay firm eyes rubber plantation

Luapula Province permanent secretary Chanda Kasolo, who confirmed this in an interview, said if successful, the acquisition could position the province as a potential hub for rubber manufacturing in the country and the region.

He said the unnamed investor plans to invest millions of dollars in the expansion of the plantation to about 5,000 hectares from the current 144 hectares.

Kasolo said the development will not only position the country as a rubber-manufacturing centre but also create jobs in the province. He added that negotiations between the company and the Zambian authorities have advanced.

"The investment will be a milestone in the development of industries and subsequent creation of jobs for the local communities in the province,” he said.

He said the investor will involve stakeholders such as the traditional rulers in the area to ensure local participation in the management of natural resources.

Kasolo said rubber production in Zambia is a viable venture and the country will have the capacity to produce tyres, gloves and other rubber products which will be exported and generate foreign exchange for the country.

He said the Malaysian investor wants to bring in machinery as soon as negotiations are concluded.

In 2008, the government embarked on a programme aimed at sensitising the local communities on the economic value of rubber production.

Source: "Zambia Daily Mail", Lusaka; 4 June 2014
(Syed Rashid Ali, Karachi, Pakistan)