A European Union (EU) funded project, the Enterprise Zambia Challenge Fund, has allocated €4.3 million to five agro companies operating in Zambia.
The funded companies includes Alliance Ginneries, CHC Commodities Limited, Good Nature Agro Products Limited, Copperbelt Forestry Company and Stewards Globe Limited.
EU Head of Delegation to COMESA and Zambia Jacek Jankowski said the fund will be crucial in stepping up the EU-Zambia partnership.
Mr Jankowski expressing confidence that the project will meet its objectives and praised the firms allocated the grants for pledging to create decent jobs for Zambians.
He disclosed that the EU supports Zambia with €92 million to the “Support to the Commercialization of Smallholder Farmers Programme” out of which €26 million are dedicated to the Enterprise Zambia Challenge Fund.
“It is important that the private sector act as a change agent to promote inclusive growth. At the same time it must contribute to the respect of Zambia’s ecosystems and to the promotion of nutrition sensitive value chains and sustainable food systems for more diversified and healthy diets,” he said.
Speaking earlier when he officiated at the event, Agriculture Minister Michael Katambo said the development will greatly contribute to government’s desire of making the sector an export oriented, diversified, private sector driven, and a climate resilient one.
“The gesture by Enterprise Zambia Challenge Fund is in line with government policy direction of transforming the agriculture sector through commercialization,” Mr Katambo said.
And Self Help Africa Country Director Elia Manda disclosed that eight thousand new jobs will be created under the programme in the next five years.
Mr Manda further disclosed that the organization is seeking to integrate 150,000 small scale farmers and producers into sustainable value chains over the next half a decade.