Zesco inefficiency, bad roads lead to Kawambwa sugar closure

Zesco inefficiency, bad roads lead to  Kawambwa sugar closure

OPERATIONS at the US$200,000 Kawambwa Sugar Limited in Luapula Province have been halted because of a poor access road and lack of electricity supply to the plant, it has been learned.

The sugar estate sitting on 10, 000 hectares of land and covering three chiefdoms was implemented last year with a sugar cane nursery and about 400 out of 10, 000 hectares have been done using a diesel pump irrigation system.

Project head Godithi Murthy said the technical team from India had advised management to stop the activities until power was supplied to the plant and the seven kilometre access road connecting the plant to Kawambwa Mporokoso road was worked on.

He said the company had been facing challenges to irrigate the 400 hectares of sugarcane using a diesel pump and the 120-kilometre road to the plant was in a bad state.

Mr Murthy said Kawambwa Sugar had for two years been engaging Zesco Limited on the need to do an extension to the sugar plant from the 66 kilovolt power line so that works could begin but the power utility said it didn’t have the money to carry out the works.

He said the 33 kilovolts the company had offered was not enough because apart from sugar, the plant would also be producing electricity for use in the plant and external.

“We need power and a road. Without these two things we can’t proceed further with the project. We have been advised to suspend any further activities until we get these two basic things,” Mr Murthy said.

He said management had suggested to Zesco that Kawambwa Sugar work on the power extension line provided the power utility gave a 100 percent reimbursement.

But Zesco had said it couldn’t do that unless it obtained a commitment from the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Agriculture.

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