Konkola Copper Mines plc (“KCM”), a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources plc, has joined forces with AFGRI Agri Services, part of AFGRI Group Holdings, and ImpactAgri (Holdings) Ltd to develop agribusiness in Chililabombwe, Zambia.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative, KCM CEO Steven Din said: ‘KCM is one of Zambia’s leading mining companies, but our vision for opportunities on the Copperbelt extends beyond mining. We want to see the creation of new enterprises and new industries that will provide better local sourcing options for our business and greater economic opportunities for Copperbelt residents. That is why we are forming a partnership to develop agribusiness in the region.’’
The aim of the collaboration is to develop agricultural and agro-processing, and in so doing to create employment and protect the ecosystem adjacent to KCM’s mines. The initiative is a core pillar of Vedanta’s vision to help transform the Copperbelt into a strong and resilient regional economic hub that can sustain livelihoods even when copper prices are low.
1,500 hectares of land are initially being set aside for development in Chililabombwe, using AFGRI’s and ImpactAgri’s signature approach to agribusiness, which combines both inclusive farming methods and environmental best practice. A mixture of both high-value and commodity crops will be grown to cater for the local market and to penetrate higher value export markets. The implementing partners aim to create a truly sustainable, commercial, large-scale agribusiness that can deliver strong and positive economic and social impact.
Jon White, CEO of ImpactAgri, said: ‘’Often one of the biggest obstacles to developing agricultural projects in Africa is access to clean water in sufficient quantity. Thanks to the surplus of clean water coming from KCM’s Konkola mine, we have a perfect opportunity to develop local farmers into serious agri-preneurs as part of an organised large-scale, farming system.’’
Vaughan McTaggart, Managing Director of AFGRI Agricultural Development Services (ABBA) said: “We are excited to be joining forces with KCM and ImpactAgri to further our passion for catalysing agricultural production across Africa. We are confident we can make a meaningful contribution to local economic development and food security in Zambia.’’