Currently Zambia has 458 units of storage facilities whose storage capacity is 2 million metric tonnes (mt) of which only 1.1 million mt is serviceable. It is against this background that FRA
with the support of government has been mobilizing funds to implement a program to rehabilitate and upgrade some of the storage facilities.
Though as a nation we seem to have sufficient storage capacity (2 million mt), the apparent shift in the agricultural production patterns from the Southern to Northern Zambia , due to change in weather patterns, has not matched the distribution and location of existing storage facilities.
The FRA will spend US $ 11.6 million through a Chinese government concession loan facility and is expected to add 98,000mt of covered storage space to the nation once completed. In addition the rehabilitation of the Lusaka Grain Silo will be done at a cost of US$ 2 million by the Grain Marketing Board of Zimbabwe and is funded by the FRA. Works should be completed by September, 2008.
The construction and rehabilitation of sheds will be commenced in August, 2008 to be completed by 2009. And the facilities have been spread as follows:
15,470mt for two and 4, 980
The rehabilitation of the Silo will not only add to the much needed space but also the convenience associated with Grain Storage and handling as compared to sheds, let alone slabs. Grain stored in a Silo can remain in good condition for a longer period because fumigation and grain management is more effective as compared to sheds. In addition, Silos are desirable and appropriate for bulk transportation of grain. This is important for FRA as we have become increasingly involved in the export trade of grain.
Furthermore, losses associated with deteriorating crop quality due to long periods of outdoor storage will be reduced in these locations. Equally important, the need for crop transportation over long distances each season will be reduced thereby saving on transportation costs.
The sheds construction and upgrade project is phase one of a likely two phase programme that may involve the rehabilitation of some of our silos. In this regard, the FRA will play its part in ensuring that the phase 1 is successfully implemented and pave way for phase2.