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Zambia: Marli Investments to spend $16 M on bio-diesel plant

MARLI Investment Zambia Limited has committed to spend about US $16 million in a plant that will produce bio-diesel from jatropha. According to company public relations director Kamal Desai, the investment would be rolled over three years though the production of bio-diesel is likely to start next year.

And National Association for Peasant and Small Scale Farmers of Zambia president Rodgers Phiri has urged government to include jatropha farming in the outgrower diversification programme.

"We are very confident of the success of the bio-diesel industry in Zambia. This is why we have found it necessary to work hand-in-hand with the farmers," Desai said.

"We are both interested in fostering economic and social development of our country through sustainable projects such as this one we are about to embark on."

He said so far, the company has invested in research, development and training of field officers who have been going to different provinces to sensitise farmers on the benefits of jatropha farming. "In 2004, we started with our first plantation in Kasosolo in chief Chamuka's area and we soon realised that the only way to implement this project successfully is through an outgrower scheme," Desai said.

He added that the company was already working in Luapula, Northern, Eastern, southern, Lusaka, Central and Copperbelt provinces and said Marli would engage farmers in way that encouraged intercropping and not abandoning production of other crops.

Desai also suggested that his company be represented on committees looking at bio-diesel production so it could contribute to mapping the way forward in the renewable energy industry of this country.

Additional information: All Africa
News date: 05/09/2006

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