ZAMBIA – AGDEVCO, an agri-business investor, has invested over US$5 million in Katito Farming Enterprises Limited (Katito) to boost production and promote market linkages for 10,000 smallholder farmers in Mbala district.
The investment, which is a key part of AgDevCo’s Northern Zambia Agricultural Hub will enable Katito to contribute to food security in the province and generate foreign exchange for the country by exporting produce to neighbouring countries, such as Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
The farm, which is strategically located to take advantage of regional export opportunities, with potential for cost-effective supply into the Great Lakes region will focus on the growing of various seeds.
The seeds are for maize, soya beans, wheat, groundnuts, commercial maize and potatoes.
According to a statement availed to the Daily Mail on Tuesday, the project is also expected to benefit hundreds of thousands of people across the continent, including Zambia, with jobs and better incomes, and linking farmers to markets.
“Katito is AgDevCo’s second investment in northern Zambia following Saise Farming Enterprises Limited, a project primarily focused on the production of seed potatoes.
“These large commercial farms will provide the critical mass to attract agricultural input suppliers, aggregators, off-takers, logistics providers and value-addition including processing companies. The systemic impact will significantly benefit the 10,000 smallholder farmers in Northern Zambia,” the statement reads.
The United Kingdom government, through the Department for International Development provides funding to AgDevCo to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the agricultural business and new agri-business ventures in Africa.
As part of the investment, AgDevCo has ensured that there will be improved security of land tenure for the communities living on the Southern boundary of Katito.
AgDevCo Zambia country director Nigel Seabrook is optimistic that with additional investment in northern Zambia the project will have positive impact on the province, both directly and indirectly by attracting other investors.
“The farm will offer formal employment in an area of Zambia with very little formal employment opportunities and future investment will include an in-grower scheme,” he said.
Katito Community representative Edward Simfukwe said the community is looking forward to the establishment of the farming project to boost job creation and economic development in the area.