UK-based, sub-Saharan-focused social impact investor AgDevCo has invested $5.05 million in Katito Farming Enterprises Ltd. – a key part of the firm’s Northern Zambia Agricultural Hub (NZAH).
Through its NZAH project, AgDevCo aims to establish an irrigated farm, bulk storage, and agricultural processing operations that will catalyze commercial agriculture in the remote northern regions of Zambia.
The investment represents the second investment by the fund in Northern Zambia following its $4.5 million investment made in June of last year in partnership with Saise Farming Enterprises – a seed potato project that is working toward modernizing the supply chain through the inclusion of irrigation systems and climate controlled warehouses for crop storage until distribution to farmers the following season.
The deal also marks the firm’s third investment in the country after the it announced a $1.1 million investment in Zambian feedlot business, Ilobezi Limited – a growing business that is expected to purchase 8,200 head of cattle from the region’s smallholders each year.
Between Katito Farming and Saise Farming, AgDevCo expects that the commercial farming enterprises will provide the ‘critical mass’ needed to attract ancillary businesses along the supply chain including input suppliers, aggregators, value addition processors, off-takers, and logistics providers.
“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 other investors,” said Nigel Seabrook, AgDevCo Zambia Country Director.
“Other players in the agricultural value chain should look at the regional food demand as a huge opportunity for Northern Province.”
Through the farming project, AgDevCo plans to produce seed maize, soybeans, wheat, groundnuts, commercial maize, and seed potatoes – all of which will contribute to strengthening food security for the region as well as Burundi, Rwanda, and Eastern DRC through greater exportation via barges on Lake Tanganyika and by rail via Tanzania.
Future plans at the site include an in-grower scheme, demonstration farming, and the provision of extension services.
“We as the community are looking forward to the establishment of Katito Farming Enterprises Limited so that they can employ members of the community,” said Edward Simfukwe, the Katito community representative.
AgDevCo has been highly active in working toward a reduction in poverty and increasing food security through its investments across Africa.
Currently managing investments in six countries, and with plans to extend its investment reach to another four, AgDevCo sees the surest way out of poverty as the development of profitable agriculture with strong links to markets.