South PF youths call for gemstone value addition

Fri, 03 Mar 2017 12:20:40 +0000



GOVERNMENT should consider helping small-scale gemstone businesses owned by Zambians in the Southern Province by assisting them in establishing a processing plant to cut on the costs they are incurring, the PF youths in the province have appealed.

PF provincial youth information and publicity secretary Paul Silungwe told the Daily Nation that the province was known for first grade gemstone mining but noted that its viability was still a challenge as players incurred more costs due to lack of facilities.

Mr. Silungwe said the cost of production was relatively higher as businesses were forced to incur double transport costs as the stones were moved in their raw form to either Lusaka or the Copperbelt where they were processed before finding customers to buy them.

He said due to the heavy costs, most businessmen preferred to sell their stones in raw form at give-away prices, saying such transactions had left them vulnerable to prospective buyers who knew their desperate situation.

He cited Choma, Mapatizya, Kalomo and Zimba as some of the places with high grade gemstones, saying coming up with a processing plant in a central location would make Zambians in the business viable.

“We have plenty of first grade gemstones in Southern Province particularly the stretch from Choma to Zimba and a lot of people have joined the business but the problem is that they are incurring a lot of costs in having their stones processed because we do not have the facilities and have to depend on other towns such as Lusaka and those on the Copperbelt, leaving our people vulnerable.

“Our plea to Government is for help to these small-scale gemstone dealers to establish a processing plant right here so that the only cost they can incur is for transportation. This is a very viable business which if well managed has the potential to increase the productivity of those in the business as well as providing employment opportunities to the locals in value addition process,” Mr. Silungwe said.


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