Humanity Africa an NGO registered in Zambia and a Community Interest Company (CIC) in the United Kingdom is investing in a Tomato and Fruit processing plant in Zambia’s Mkushi area with an investment of £500,000 in the project.
And Zambia’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom His Excellency Mr. Muyeba Chikonde has said agriculture has been placed as the priority driver of the economy, adding that agriculture not only provides food and raw material but also employment opportunities across its value chain.
During a presentation at a Business networking event organised by the Zambian Business Club UK, held at the Zambia High Commission last week, Humanity Africa Chief Executive Officer Bhupinder Singh Baidwan said, “Apart from putting up the Tomato and Fruit processing plant, Humanity Africa is also putting up a health food processing plant for Nutri-Globe, which will produce Moringa and baobab based health food products for export as well as a Maize mill for maize flour.
The Zambia Business Club UK was formed on 16th October, 2016 with the aim of promoting business ventures of Zambian entrepreneurs and harness the power of the Diaspora to bring trade and innovation to Zambia.
Mr. Baidwan said the organisation has committed the investments in view of the growth of agriculture activities that were taking place in the Central Province of Zambia and works on the projects are expected to commence in 2018.
“We are going to be producing tinned tomatoes and fruits right in the heart of Mkushi while providing training to local farmers. We are also training farmers in Mkushi on how to dry and preserve fruits. We will be drying mangoes and pineapples. The dry mangoes and pineapples have the potential to pave way for export within Africa, the European Union and the United Kingdom. There is also a potential market in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola,” he said.
Mr. Baidwan said Humanity Africa has been in Zambia since 2014 supporting rural farmers in training and developing enterprises to make them self-reliant and become agents of change and that the organization is working to train local farmer.
He said the investments will see the company train more farmers and employ local people within Mkushi, 60 per cent of whom are women, with crop diversification, and improved irrigation methods in the face of climate change; farmers will be empowered to implement and share their technical training and knowledge at the grassroots level.
Mr. Baidwan explained that in order for Zambia to achieve sustainable development, every Zambian must have the courage to take the reigns of economic development into their own hands and that working with local farmers in Mkushi will ensure that household nutrition is improved, children are more likely to go to school and women are more empowered in household and business decision making.
And in an interview after the meeting High Commissioner Chikonde said with the fast growing population and high incidence of unemployment in African countries, the agriculture sector should provide more employment opportunities to the labour force.
The High Commissioner said the Humanity Africa projects have come at the right time when President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has called for total diversification of the economy from Copper dependency to promoting value addition through the establishment of projects such as the Mango processing facility in the Eastern Province and a Pineapple processing facility in North-western Province.