Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya has commended Zambeef Products on successfully raising of US$65 million of capital investment from CDC Group.
The investment has enabled the country’s largest vertically food retailing company to regain full Zambian ownership of its Zamhatch hatchery and Zam Chick broiler divisions after a US$23 million cash buy-back of shares from a South African joint venture partner.
“CDC has seen the potential and that’s why they have come here as a stamp of approval that this country can do well and will do well,” said Ms Siliya.
Mrs Siliya congratulated Zambeef on the development at a corporate function yesterday to acknowledge both the new as well as existing partnerships with various stakeholders Minister of Finance Hon. Felix Mutati, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Hon. Michael Katambo, Minister of Local Government Hon. Vincent Mwale and Minister of Energy Hon. David Mabumba were also in attendance.
Others in attendance included dignitaries, representatives and guests from various diplomatic missions, relevant government offices, financial institutions as well as cooperating partners and firms as well as Zambeef management and staff.
Zambeef Joint Chief Executive Officer Dr Carl Irwin reiterated Zambeef’s stance on value addition, agriculture and food production in Zambia noting that an increasing number of stakeholders at all levels in the country, public and private, were engaging more in the sector in order to diversify the economy.
“Zambeef passionately believes in Zambia’s agriculture potential, this has always been our stance. We have all the main ingredients for a robust and successful agriculture sector with ample fresh water, land, and human resources and an outstanding climate made available to us. The key to unlocking this potential remains in strategic and deliberately targeted investment aimed at increasing efficiencies in both primary production and agro processing undertakings within the sector. With the new investment we can now focus on our core business of cold chain food processing and retailing, and continue with expansion plans to our distribution and retailing platform in Zambia and the region,” said Dr Irwin.
“With CDC, Zambeef has not only gained in terms of the capital financing but also a partner with an understanding of our vision and with years of experience in investments on the home continent as well as Asia, which will prove valuable as we seek to grow our presence across Africa and into some of the other promising markets,” added Dr Irwin.
The Minister also expressed her confidence in Zambia’s ability to help support the government’s policy of strengthening the agriculture sector as well as become a major player in the region and beyond with local companies such as Zambeef taking the lead.
“We truly must support the private sector because when business makes money, when business makes a profit, then the opportunities for job creation, the opportunities for wealth creation from investment abound. We are not in the business of making money as government. We want to provide the environment, the enabling environment for the private sector, the farmers, the agribusiness to actually make the money,” said Ms Siliya.
She further highlighted the importance of agriculture to the wellbeing of the country and reiterated the urgent need for more investment in the sector in order to regain much of the lost momentum and drive agriculture productivity in Zambia and the rest of Africa into the future.
She called upon the private sector to join government in its quest to ensure that no aspect of agriculture is left behind by partnering with them in developing structural and agricultural infrastructure in and around the 1 million plus hectares of land dedicated to creating farm blocks spread across the country driven by an integrated approach to agriculture.
The Minister was however, quick to point out that significant changes in attitude towards agriculture as well as structural ones needed to be made to create a more enabling environment in order for Zambia to get to where it envisioned itself to be. She further alluded to the fact that while emphasis is being placed on investment, other factors such as research and development, improved agro practices, extension services, post-harvest technology and development of markets locally and regionally all come into play and called for a bold push in inclusive strategies, transparency and thinking outside the Box in creating conditions for the agriculture sector to thrive.