Zambia seals huge deal to start farm block development

A US$390 million contract between the Zambian government and China Railways Seventh Group will transform the 200 000 ha Kalungwishi farm block into a model of inclusive agricultural growth, said Zambian Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya.

Under the deal, 800 jobs are expected to be created when the project starts, while a further 35 000 will follow in the final phase.

“This forms part of government’s plan to develop agriculture infrastructure to accelerate economic growth diversification through agriculture,” Siliya said.

Government identified areas countrywide for farm block development. Each farm block is envisaged to have a core large-scale farm of 10 000 hectares, several farms of between 1 000 and 5 000 ha and support agro-industries.

Also read: Massive arable land for Zambian smallholder farmers lying idle

However, with the exception of one or two, most blocks have remained semi- or undeveloped. Among them are the 10 000 ha at Kalungwishi, the 1 200 ha Senanga citrus fruit plantation, and the 100 000 ha for mixed farming at Kalumwange in Western Province.

Others farms include Simango in Livinsgtone (100 000 ha), Mikelenge-Luma Solwezi (100 000 ha), Musakashi in Mufulira (100 000 ha), Luena in Kawambwa (100 000 ha), Munshya (147 000 ha) Mpika, Mwase-Mphangwe in Lundazi (100 000 ha) and Mungu in Lusaka (80 000 ha).

Also read: Zambian government pledges US$150m for development of farming blocks

In the 2018 budget, government has set aside money to develop 3 farm block models in Northern, Muchinga and Copperbelt Provinces, among other initiatives of developing agriculture infrastructure.

Others projects include the development of a US$100 million agricultural assembly plant and a US$50 million aquaculture enterprise development.

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