LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Zambian Breweries has launched its cassava-buying programme in Kasama, bringing its new BanQu automated system to provide financial inclusion for small-scale farmers in the area.
Since its launch in 2016, Zambian Breweries’ cassava project has recruited more than 6,000 small-scale farmers in Northern and Luapula provinces, bought more than 15,000 tonnes of cassava and earned farmers some K21 million.
Northern Province Deputy Permanent Secretary Captain Davison Mulenga, in the first week of this month, launched the 2019 cassava harvest and BanQu automated system in Kasama, as the programme spreads across the region from its original base in Mansa.
“This launch is taking place as the government is focusing on widening the food basket beyond maize. Zambian Breweries has turned cassava into a cash crop. Including cassava as a staple food will have the benefit of reducing over-dependence on maize,” said Capt. Mulenga.
“This initiative is in line with the government’s 7th National Development Plan, which focuses on economic diversification and job creation through agriculture and manufacturing, among other sectors.
“The introduction of the BanQu automated payment system amongst our cassava farmers will promote farmer identification, enhancement of transparency, maintenance of documented records, improved data management, financial inclusion and enhanced ability for our cassava farmers to access mortgages,” he added.
Zambian Breweries Corporate Affairs Director Ezekiel Sekele said: “I am very happy and delighted to come and see you, our cassava farmers. We want to hear for ourselves what’s working and what is not from the farmers.
“There is a lot we can make from cassava. Today Zambian Breweries is buying cassava to produce Eagle Lager beer, and we are engaging with other stakeholders to create many other things using cassava such as energy, ethanol, glue or packaging bags.”
Chief Mutale Mukulu said: “Before we used to farm cassava in small quantities, but now when I look we are making so much with it. From here I can see Eagle Lager, which is made from cassava.”