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Solar hammer mills offer flour power in Zambia

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Zambia , 03 Sep 2015

Solar hammer mills offer flour power in Zambia

The Zambian government, through Chinese company Shandong Deijan Group Limited, has started shipping solar powered hammer mills into the country to support production and curb rising mealie meal prices.

Authorities claim the increase in the price of the commodity is due to the privatisation of the sector, hence the need to set up government milling plants to provide competition and stabilise the cost of the flour.

Shandong Deijan Group Limited has so far shipped three mills into the Southern African country at a cost of over $100, 000.

The company's country general manager Huang Meng said more than 2, 000 mills will be shipped before December this year, while the remaining 2,000 will be shipped in by June 2016.

The solar power technology will make it easier for the hammer mills to operate, even in remote areas that are not connected to the national grid, according to the Zambian government.

The hammer mills, which Meng says can operate on a 24-hour basis, use a solar panel photovoltaic system to convert the sun's rays into electricity.

The hammer mills are being procured and imported with the help of the Chinese government at a cost of $200 million and will be managed by the Zambia Cooperatives Federation (ZCF).

Authorities plan to distribute the hammer mills nationally.

"We will also construct five training schools for building capacity, especially in the youth so that they can operate the equipment and help reduce poverty at individual and household levels," Meng said.

The price of mealie meal has been a sticking point between industry stakeholders.Millers have reportedly increased their prices, citing the high cost of production and increasing electricity tariffs, in defiance of a government directive to reduce rates.

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