Zambeef calls for action on regional agro-processing investment
Private and public sector investment essential for industrialisation
ZAMBIA must take action to invest in industrialisation in order to be competitive and take advantage of the business opportunities in the region, Zambeef Joint Chief Executive Officer Dr Carl Irwin told delegates at the fifth Zambian International Investment Forum (ZIIF) this week.
“Zambeef strongly believes in Zambia’s potential to feed itself and the region given its abundant resources; good soils, climate, readily available as well as the ability to produce most crops given the right investment. But only in adding value to our produce can we fully realise the sector’s full potential,” said Dr Irwin, who was speaking at the opening of the high-level conference, which was officially launched by H.E. the President, on. Edgar Chagwa Lungu and attended by Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe.
During the forum, themed Investment for Industrialization, Wealth and Job Creation”, Dr Irwin appealed to participants in the agribusiness sector to embrace and invest in new technologies that would help transform the agriculture sector into a more efficient production base that can then allow the sector to tap into wider regional markets.
Zambeef is one of Zambia’s success stories and leading agribusiness and food processor thanks to unrelenting investment on the part of the company, he explained. The group has invested heavily in cropping, livestock and manufacturing divisions as well as skills development equipping both employees and small-scale farmers involved in the value-addition chain.
Dr Irwin highlighted some of the benefits of focusing on value adding operations and the opportunities presented for the national economy; increased national food security, social development in rural areas, job creation, and tax and duty generated as result.
Zambeef alone has generated US$220 million in revenue for the financial year 2015 and US$38 million of foreign exchange income for the nation; invested more than US$150 million in the last eight years; employed more than 6,000 staff and contributed US$18 million in tax and duty paid to the Zambian government in FY 2015.
He also stressed the importance of developing and strengthening local capacity in order to achieve a more streamlined development across the sector.
“Small to medium scale farmers play a vital role in the value chain. For example, over 90 percent of livestock in the country is in the hands of these farmers. Zambeef has partnered with the farmers at different levels in effect providing a ready market for their products as well as linkages to local and external markets. By further equipping the farmers with technical knowledge and skills we hope to improve productivity and quality of livestock and produce in the country,” he said.
Zambeef’s own continued investments in development projects such as Zampalm in Mpika are set to see Zambia become self-dependant in edible oils saving the country over US$70 million in annual imports of the commodity. Other projects such as Zamhatch in Mpongwe and investment in state-of-the-art dairy facilities will increase production of poultry and dairy products in the country with Zamhatch slated to be one the largest hatchery facility in the region.
Dr Irwin stressed the importance of Public-Private Partnership in both infrastructure development and policy development, calling on the private and public sectors to come together in investing for a successful agriculture and agro-processing sector focused on value-addition to resulting in the creation of sustainable wealth and jobs for Zambia.
“The opportunities for both local and foreign investment are massive all of which have the potential for further growth and having a spill-over effect on Zambia’s agro-processing industry as well as the regions. Our challenge to Zambian entrepreneurs is to get out there and make use of these opportunities to grow our industries,” he concluded.
Zambeef currently operates 151 retail outlets including its Master Meats in Nigeria and Ghana. Novatek, its stockfeed subsidiary, exports stock feed to neighbouring countries in the region as well.
The strong retail network and in-house distribution fleet, one of the country’s largest fleet, has enabled Zambeef to gain market share by making its products readily available, closer to its customers in the urban and most importantly more rural parts of the country.
A Proudly Zambian company, Zambeef’s single largest Zambian shareholder- NAPSA essentially makes every working Zambian a stakeholder. Other local institutional shareholders include Saturnia Regna Pension Fund, Barclays Bank Pension Fund, Bank of Zambia Pension Fund, Zambia State Insurance Company (ZSIC), KCM Pension Fund, Workers’ Compensation Fund and Professional Insurance Pension Fund.
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