Food security and agriculture in remote northern Zambia received a healthy boost thanks to a US$5 million investment by AgDevCo in the Katito Farming Enterprise near Mbala.
Nigel Seabrook, AgDevCo Zambia Country Director, said regional food demand provides a huge opportunity for all players in the agricultural value chain in northern Zambia.
“I am delighted with this additional investment in northern Zambia and am optimistic of the impact it will have on the province, both directly and indirectly by attracting investors.”
The objective of Katito is to establish an irrigated farm, bulk storage facility and processing hub to produce food crops and livestock. The food security of northern Zambia and surrounding countries will benefit from the crops planted. It includes commercial maize, soya bean, wheat, groundnuts and seed potatoes.
According to AgDevCo, Katito is one of two commercial farming investments by the social impact investor in the so-called neglected northern parts of Zambia.
The aim of the projects is to “provide critical mass to attract agriculture input suppliers, aggregators, off-takers, logistic providers and value-adders” in the Mbala area in Zambia’s Northern Province”.
AgDevCo said a total of 10 000 smallholder farmers in northern Zambia will eventually benefit from the project. Aside from attracting different role-players in the agricultural value chain to the region, the farm will offer employment opportunities to surrounding communities. An in-grower scheme is part of future plans for the farm.
“We as a community are looking forward to the establishment of Katito Farming Enterprises Limited,” said Edward Simfukwe, a community representative from Katito.
The farm’s strategic positioning also offers the opportunity to exploit regional markets for exports to add to Zambia’s export revenue earnings.
In a statement, the company said the investment will also enable the farm to provide extension services and demonstration farming
AgDevCo receives funding from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development to reduce poverty and improve food security in sub- Saharan Africa.