Atlas Farming could transform SADC agriculture landscape

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Sila Press Agency | 5 November 2009

HUMPHREY NKONDE

Correspondent

NDOLA: Southern African Development Community (SADC) nations look set to benefit from massive investments in the agriculture sector that have every potential to transform the region's agricultural landscape.

Atlas Farming, which had successful farming ventures in Zimbabwe from the late 1960s until president Robert Mugabe's much criticised land reforms around 2000, has partnered with Chayton Capital to invest in large-scale farming in Zambia.

Atlas Farming is buttressed by Chayton Capital's approximately Û 234 million of committed capital in Central and Eastern Europe .The joint venture has selected Zambia to kick-start investments in the agriculture sector in Africa due to, among other factors, political stability, diverse agronomic conditions and land reforms in 1995, which were ahead of South Africa and Zimbabwe .

To this end, government has finalised a land audit and reserved one million hectares for the development of farm blocks. Some experts have in fact postulated that investors would flock to Africa for its vast tracks of land to invest in the agriculture sector, which has high returns on investment and as a way of recovering from the effects of the global financial crisis.

The Atlas Farming / Chayton Capital joint venture would incorporate large-scale farming so that some staple food crops are exported to neighbouring countries. These include Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe .

These foreign investors have decided to locate the venture in Mkushi in Central Province along the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA), which was constructed by the Chinese in the 1970s.

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From Chayton Capital's website:

African Agriculture

The Chayton approach to Africa offers both investors and governments a model for a more socially inclusive approach to economic development. Chayton is committed to establishing relationships in the region in order to ensure an effective transfer of skills, and sees significant opportunities to give back to the local communities and to train the workforce in effective, large-scale farming techniques.

We believe that agricultural operations in sub-Saharan Africa offer an exceptional investment opportunity. Chayton Capital will make its initial African investment in Zambia which, along with a number of other African nations, can benefit from the transfer of modern technology and farm management practices. Chayton has found a promising investment climate in Zambia: the level of co-operation offered by the Zambian government and the ease of operating within the country is encouraging, as is the country’s excellent land resource, water supplies and relative political stability.

Once operations have been established in Zambia, we intend to replicate the model elsewhere in the region as opportunities are identified. Our aim is to create one of the leading agricultural companies in Africa.

Original source: Mmegi
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