Zamseed’s management team has revealed that they would be using the new funding from SilverStreet to revamp its processing plant in Lusaka and to significantly expand its research capability, vegetable seed product line and to meet its strategic goal of becoming a regional seed company headquartered in Zambia.
SilverStreet committed to investing K91 million into Zamseed this month.
Through a press statement Zamseed managing director, William Rutherford-Smith, said: “Zamseed produces high-quality seed in Zambia for Zambian farmers and is one of Zambia’s most respected brands.”
“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.
The statement also noted that since SilverStreet’s first investment in 2018, Zamseed sales volumes have already increased by over 40 per cent, with the business benefitting from the support of stable, long-term capital and renewed energy in the group.
Zamseed has a broad product line covering seed products for maize, pigeon peas, sorghum, sunflower, vegetables, soya beans, wheat, groundnuts, rice, cowpeas and other crops.
The seed company has benefited from a successful breeding programme, led by Dr Bhola Verma since it was founded in 1980.
Zamseed products are specifically focused on the needs of small-holder farmers with traits like drought and disease-tolerance, as well as yield enhancement.
SilverStreet Capital is an award-winning agricultural investor known for developing the agricultural sector in Zambia.
It focuses on unlocking growth by integrating smallholder farmers into their business models.
SilverStreet’s investments into Zambia employ over 1,000 people and positively impact 85,000 smallholder farmers.
According to a media statement from Zamseed, SilverStreet Capital has given it (Zamseed) a K91 million investment boost, despite global uncertainty over the COVID-19 that has resulted in a difficult economic environment.
The statement indicates that SilverStreet’s K91 million investment into Zamseed would bring its total investment into the country, since 2013, to over K2.2 billion.
“SilverStreet made its first investment into Zamseed in early 2018 and has continued to back the company with this latest commitment, taking its total investment and share purchases in Zamseed to over K560 million,” the statement read.
“To support and build on this breeding programme, the company employed a new expert breeder in 2019, Dr Amsal Tesfaye, a widely respected seed maize breeder, formerly at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT),” the statement said.
“With SilverStreet’s investment, Zamseed will improve and expand product portfolios to support small-holder farmers across the country, and throughout Africa.”
It added that Zamseed 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 more robust performance in variable conditions,” noted Vaughan-Smith.
So far, 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.