AGRICULTURE Minister Dora Siliya has commended Zambeef Products on their successful raising of US$65 million of capital investment from CDC Group.
Ms Siliya said there was need for more investment and a bold push in inclusive strategies in the sector.
The minister was speaking at a Zambeef corporate function to acknowledge both the new as well as existing partnerships with various stakeholders in Lusaka.
The US$65 million investment had enabled Zambia’s largest food retailing company to regain full local ownership of its Zamhatch Hatchery and Zamchick 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.
Others in attendance included representatives and dignitaries from various diplomatic missions, Government officials, financial institutions as well as cooperating partners and firms as well as Zambeef management and staff.
Zambeef joint chief executive officer Carl Irwin reiterated the company’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.
“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.,” said Dr Irwin.
He said with the new investment the company could now focus on its core business of cold chain food processing and retailing, and continue with expansion plans to its distribution and retailing platform in Zambia and the region.
Ms Siliya expressed her confidence in 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.