The Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) and Chinese businessmen and Agriculturalists from Han Chin City in China have held talks to explore possibilities of partnership with the Union and investment in the agriculture sector.
The Chinese are hoping to consider utilising the abundant opportunities available in Zambia’s agriculture sector, which country teems with abundant arable land, where only 6.02 million hectares or 14% of 43 million hectares of land classified as high potential for Agriculture.
ZNFU president Jervis Zimba urged the delegation to explore possibilities of investment in the entire agriculture value chain, value addition and processing. He also told the Chinese delegation that a window for enhancing mechanisation and technological advancement begs to be tapped.
Zimba said Zambian farmers want to move with the rest of the world in agricultural technological advancement that would trigger increased production and improved productivity. He said there lies a great opportunity to invest in irrigation, with irrigation potential estimated to be about 2.75 million hectares; based on water availability and soil irrigability, which 523,000 hectares can be economically developed.
He said only 340,000 hectares of land is irrigated in Zambia, which is about 65 percent of the economical irrigation potential leaving a total of 183,000 hectares yet to be developed.
The Chinese delegation said its main investment interest is in plantation agriculture, fisheries, agriculture value addition, processing and agriculture machinery, but mainly livestock and the entire agriculture value chain.
Head of delegation Cheng Chungsheng said they bring with them vast agriculture technology in raising cattle, chickens and other agricultural products and massive marketing experience and ready capital. No amount was pledged as it was merely an interest to invest in Zambia. The Chinese delegation have been to South Africa, Zimbabwe and now Zambia.