ZAMBIA – Zambia’s first seed company, Zamseed has secured K91 million (US$5m) investment from UK based investment advisor managing African agricultural funds, SilverStreet capital to expand its operation and ensure continuity of business.

According to Zamseed managing director, William Rutherford-Smith, the financing will be used to revamp the company’s processing plant in Lusaka.

In addition, the company plans to expand its research capability, vegetable seed product line and meet its strategic goal of becoming a regional seed company headquartered in Zambia.

“We have already made great strides towards returning the company to its former position as one of Zambia’s leading seed companies,” said Rutherford-Smith.

Zamseed has a broad product line covering seed products for maize, beans, pigeon peas, sorghum, millet, sunflower, vegetables, soya beans, wheat, groundnuts, rice, cowpeas and other crops

Due to market demand, the company has also diversified into supply of vegetative propagated planting materials like sweet potato vines and cassava cuttings.

Zamseed products are specifically focused on the needs of small-holder farmers with traits like drought and disease-tolerance, as well as yield enhancement, reports The Mast.

“With SilverStreet’s investment, Zamseed will improve and expand product portfolios to support small-holder farmers across the country, and throughout Africa,” stated the company.

The seeds producer said revealed that it has developed an “exciting” new ultra-short season hybrid maize variety, ZMS301, that would be available in the country from October this year, to enable small-holder farmers to adapt to climate change.

“The variety is fast-maturing and drought-tolerant, enabling farmers to have more flexibility in seasons when the rains are less reliable. It is being labelled as Zamseed’s answer to climate change for smallholder farmers,” it stated.

SilverStreet’s chief investment officer, Gary Vaughan-Smith said, “We are excited to support the Zamseed team’s development and expansion plans and to be aligned with the government’s objective to develop Zambia’s agriculture industry.”

“Zamseed’s high-quality seed will benefit small-holder farmers’ incomes through higher yields and a more robust performance in variable conditions,” noted Vaughan-Smith.

With the current investment of K91m, SilverStreet’s investment and share purchases into Zamseed amounts to over K560m (US$31m) since 2018.

This has increased Zamseed sales volumes by over 40 per cent, with the business benefitting from the support of stable, long-term capital and renewed energy in the group.

Solely focused in agriculture, SilverStreet Capital has invested in two other businesses in Zambia; Silverlands Ranching Limited, a beef value-chain business in Southern Province and Silverlands Zambia Limited, a commercial farming and grains business in Central Province.