Times of Zambia | 21 May 2010
By Business Reporter
CHAYTON Capital, a United Kingdom (UK)-based company, is to invest US$20 million in the purchase and expansion of six irrigated farms in various parts of Zambia to enhance growth in the agriculture sector.
Company managing partner, Neil Crowder said in Lusaka that the firm would soon acquire the farms, which have been identified, once the procurement process was finalised.
Mr Crowder said the company would make a further US$30 million equity investment in the expansion of primary production and other agri businesses in the country, bringing the total investment to $50 million.
The fund’s investment will promote strong developmental impact, including technology transfer, employment and food security.
He said the idea was to expand and improve farm land irrigation, as well as farming techniques and achieve economic scale through irrigation across the agri-business value chain.
Mr Crowder said the produce would be sold locally and within the sub-Saharan Africa markets.
“We believe Zambia has enough markets for our produce and it is well-positioned for exports into other countries within the region,” he said.
He said his company had signed a conditional guarantee with the Multilateral Guarantee Agency (MIGA), a member of the World Bank Group, supporting up to $50 million of agri-business investment in Zambia and Botswana.
On Monday, the agency entered into a contract with Chayton Atlas Investments for the investment holding company and private equity fund with extensive regional farming experience focused on investing in agri-business in Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries.
Mr Crowder said the company obtained a guarantee from MIGA on the investments in Zambia and would assist the company in raising the much-needed capital to expand the business, job creation and helping to develop agri-businesses in the country.
He said there was an exciting opportunity in Zambia to establish and develop agricultural companies that met requirements necessary to attract foreign capital and to ensure that the many opportunities were developed in a sustainable way.
“We believe that foreign investment is important to developing economies across sub-Saharan Africa and we have found a welcoming investment climate in Zambia, where the Government is encouraging foreign direct investment in sectors like agriculture, which should help to diversify and strengthen the national economy,” Mr Crowder said.
‘‘Institutional investors are wary of committing capital to Africa for a number of reasons. We believe we have a role to play in dispelling widely-held misperceptions about the risks associated with investing in Africa.
“Chayton will invest in sustainable agricultural ventures in Zambia. We define sustainable investment as community-based, technologically-advanced and environmentally-friendly,” Mr Crowder said.
The investment will generate about 1,600 job opportunities for the Zambian people.