The US$35 million Mpika Sericulture and Silk Plantation, a subsidiary of Wonderful Group of Companies, will create over 2,000 jobs for local people, Mpika District Commissioner, Sampa Muswema has said.
The Chikwanda Chiefdom Development Trust has partnered with Wonderful Group of Companies, a Chinese company, to establish a 5,000-hectarage Mpika Sericulture Silk Plantation at an investment capital of over US$35 million.
Speaking in an interview, Mr Muswema said the project involved construction of temperature-controlled factories for rearing silk worms as well as a 5,000-hectare plantation of mulberry, which would be used as feed for the worms.
Sericulture refers to the production of silk and rearing of silkworms.
“The mulberry which is being grown in this plantation, will be used to feed silkworms, which will produce cocoons used for the production of silk,” Mr Muswema explained.
He also said Wonderful Group of Companies had spent US$ 2.5 million to compensate and relocate 130 families who were settled on the land.
“I wish to thank His Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia for facilitating a conducive environment for both local Foreign Direct Investment to flourish and His Royal Highness Chief Chikwanda for attracting such a big company, which will help boost the economy of Mpika and the country at large,” Mr Muswema said.
He said Mpika Sericulture and Silk Plantation would create 2,000 jobs for local people by September this year and also establish an out grower scheme to support local mulberry growers.
Mr Muswema added that as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Wonderful Group of Companies had agreed to sink boreholes to enable the surrounding communities have access to clean drinking water and to upgrade school infrastructure.
“We have also identified a piece of land on which Wonderful Group will construct a hospital,” Mr Muswema said.
He said the project would boost economic activities in Mpika and business would flourish in the district due to its strategic geographic location at the center of Northern Province, Muchinga and North Luangwa National Park.
He also commended President Lungu for respecting and working well with traditional leaders to attract investors for the benefit of the people.