Amatheon Agri Holding, a Euronext-listed agribusiness and farming group (ISIN NL0010273694, Symbol MLAAH), today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for a five-year Global Development Alliance project worth US$21 million.

There are two reasons to rejoice: Amatheon Agri Zambia Ltd. joined the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Kashikoto Conservancy Ltd., Alliance partners, government officials, and local leaders to officially launch the Eastern Kafue Nature Alliance on International Earth Day 2022. The Alliance, which is part of USAID’s Global Development Alliance (GDA), brings together public, private, and civil society actors, as well as local communities, to address threats to Zambia’s rich biodiversity in and around the Greater Kafue Ecosystem (GKE).

A Cooperative Agreement signed by USAID and TNC initiates implementation of a five-year programme of US$21.3m out of which $10m will be funded by USAID and $11.3m in leverage from the private sector. Amatheon Agri Zambia Ltd. (AAZ) plays a key role in this programme for further increasing the sustainable agricultural production of high-value crops within the communities in Mumbwa District, in which the company has its operations.

The Minister of Tourism, Honourable Rhodine Sikumba, officially launched the Alliance and highlighted the importance of bringing together like-minded people to conserve the rich landscape of the GKE and improve the well-being and prosperity of its communities. “Sustainable development requires cross-sectoral commitments from local and global stakeholders,” said Honourable Mr Sikumba.

Also, the Minister of Green Economy and Environment, Honourable Collins Nzovu, touched on the great opportunities that inclusive agriculture can bring for communities and nature simultaneously, and appreciated Amatheon’s approach to introducing cash crop cultivation as a sustainable, alternative source of income for the communities in the GKE.

With the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), Amatheon Agri Zambia’s Managing Director, Troy Minne, said the company commits to ramp up its herbs and spices production with small-scale farmers, starting with different varieties of capsicum products (hot chillies and paprika). Over 5 years, Amatheon Agri Zambia will support crop diversification into high-value herbs and spices, produced under climate-smart techniques through the provision of market services, including input finance, extension and demonstration of sustainable farming practices to address economic constraints communities face in the Mumbwa District.

With its newly established state-of-the-art processing, cleaning and storage facilities, AAZ can process the dried chillies and paprika into flakes in various sizes, with or without seeds, by international food and processing standards. The global demand for chilli products continues to grow, which offers a great opportunity for Amatheon to connect smallholder farmers to high-level value chains and increase its trading volumes as new supply contracts come into fruition.

“The first major deals from European and African clients for high-margin chilli and paprika products have been closed, resulting in ca. EUR 2 million worth of contracts being signed in Q1 2022 for delivery later in the year,” says Amatheon’s Director of International Sales and Marketing, Victoria Cavanagh.

“The high quality of the products, combined with year-round availability and on-site processing, makes Amatheon Agri a strategic supplier for many new clients,” says Cavanagh. “Traditional origins for chilli and paprika are experiencing quality and supply challenges, and the market is eager to develop new origins, especially with large-scale farming companies where traceability is stronger,” she says.

For AAZ, the launch marked a special moment in the company’s history with USAID, which played a crucial role in the development of Amatheon Agri’s Outgrower Programme in 2016. During the first USAID partnership, AAZ established a trading network with more than 10,000 farmers in Mumbwa District and embedded the Outgrower Programme as a core part of the company’s operations in Zambia.

“We are excited to partner again in such an ambitious and fundamentally important project, which will uplift our Outgrower Programme and the communities surrounding Amatheon’s farm,” said Sustainability Manager Laura Schenck.

The Alliance project activities will be implemented over five years until September 2026.