The Federation of National Associations of Women in Business in Eastern and Southern Africa (FEMCOM) has launched the Kanakantapa Cassava Cluster factory situated in Chongwe area about 50 kilometers east of Lusaka, Zambia FEMCOM has also handed over textile equipment worth over Euro 100,000 to the textile and garment cluster based in Lusaka’s Villa Elizabeth area. The equipment was provided by the Zambia Association of Manufacturers.
The Kanakantapa Cassava Cluster factory is ‘wholly women-owned and women-run” cassava processing plant and a major milestone in the implementation of the of the Cassava Cluster projects. It is owned and will be fully managed by a women’s cooperative under the National FEMCOM Chapter, the Zambia Federation of Association of Women in Business (ZFAWIB).
ZFAWIB had been working with the women’s associations and the Government of Zambia in the promotion of women in business activities in the cassava value chain, textiles and creation of market linkages for its members.
Cassava is one of the strategic food security commodities in the COMESA region which has been prioritized for commercialization. Speaking during the inauguration of the factory, Secretary General Chileshe Mpundu Kapwepwe, stated that the project proves that women are determined to create wealth and change the course of economic development in Africa and Zambia in particular.
“This project is testimony that with a little more effort, women can make a huge difference in their lives, those of their families and communities,” she said. “There is compelling evidence that entrepreneurship is a powerful driver of economic growth and that women make significant contribution to the economy through their entrepreneurial activities.”
FEMCOM Executive Director Ruth Negash said it was good to see the potential that lies in women being realized through the inauguration of the Kanakantapa cassava processing plant. “If more projects such as the processing plant continue to flourish, by the year 2063, over 90% of rural women would have access to productive assets, including land, credit, inputs and financial services.
She requested the Government of Zambia to provide land for the cassava farmers to expand their businesses as the launch of the plant is expected to increase cassava production and create more jobs in the country.
She added that FEMCOM has specifically tailored its strategic plans towards supporting practical interventions in the regional value chains and cassava and textiles.
At the relaunch of the ZAFAWIB textile and garment factory in Lusaka, COMESA SG said the demand for African textiles and garments was increasing globally.
“African patterns are gaining recognition as truly fashionable and iconic pieces, with international fashionistas and fashion houses integrating more and more African influences in their latest
collections,” she noted.She thanked the Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) that supplied the equipment adding that the factory will empower women and youths with skills and generate income for economic benefits through mass production of and access to regional and international markets. ZAM President Ezekiel Sekele thanked the women for reviving the textile sector. He said the equipment will help remove secondhand clothes
which have affected the production in the sector.
ZFAWIB Chief Executive Officer and FEMCOM Chapter Chair, Maureen Sumbwe said: “The hard work by the women in business in Zambia is now yielding results especially with the help coming from stakeholders like COMESA, FEMCOM and ZAM.