Zambia needs agriculture champions – ZAMBEEF

October 30th, 2017

LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Zambeef has commended the agriculture sector’s and government’s increasing commitment to the diversification of the Zambian economy away from over dependence on mining and focus on agriculture as the engine to drive the economy going forward and has called for agriculture champions to market surplus food into the SADC/COMESA regions.

“This is indeed an exciting time for the agriculture sector in Zambia as we witness the awakening of a sector and industry that has the potential to not only to bring about incredible economic and social change. We must stop talking about this potential and physically seize the God-given opportunity to become the real bread basket we keep talking about. We are already a mini-bread basket, in many respects all we need to do is nurture and grow what we already have,” said Zambeef joint chief executive officer Francis Grogan.

He urged farmers to take note and build on the opportunity that the growing population in the region presented as indicated by recent UN studies that stated that demand for food is expected to triple from US$8 billion in 2017 to US$25 billion in 2032.

“These figures are certainly very sobering for sure but I personally find them very exciting. They are indeed huge challenges but also huge opportunities for us as a nation to produce and process food to feed all these people right on our doorstep. I firmly believe that Zambian farmers, whether small, medium or large scale are very willing and able to take up this opportunity and I experience this first hand everyday as joint CEO of Zambeef Products,” said Mr Grogan.

His sentiments were echoed by Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Mr Jervis Zimba who noted that “Agriculture is the surest way of delivering inclusive growth,” and highlighted some of the aspects that would assist in enhancing good farming practices among farmers.
The two were speaking at the opening of the 112th Zambia National Farmers Union Congress officiated by His Excellency, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

The President commended the congress for providing a platform for the networking of agricultural stakeholders to explore solutions aimed at expediting the actualization of the National Economic Diversification Programme.

“Government remains focused on making farming the mainstay of our economy for enhanced household food security, poverty reduction and increased income generation for the people,” said His Excellency.

He furthermore reiterated government’s commitment to address challenges in the sector so as to avoid slowing down the momentum of the diversification agenda.

Mr Grogan went on to urge fellow farmers and would-be farmers in Zambia to take agriculture seriously and give it the commitment and investment it deserved if it is to become an agriculture hub that it hopes to be.

“Actually agriculture in Zambia is not a sleeping giant at all! The giant is awake and flexing its muscles and starting to take small but very determined steps in the right direction,” emphasized Mr Grogan.

He however, also counselled that agriculture is not for the short-term stating that;
“Investment in agriculture is a long-term investment and it requires vision; passion; persistence; enormous patience; commitment; huge investment and huge amounts of hard work.”
He drew on Zambeef’s own journey which started with 60 employees, one retail outlet and what at the time most people would have considered no future.

“From our very humble beginnings in 1994, we’re now one of the region’s leading agribusinesses with 7, 000 full time employees and hundreds of thousands of cattle, pigs, maize and soya suppliers the length and breadth of Zambia. I personally believe that farming never gets out of fashion and as Zambeef, we insist on supplying millions of consumers with beef, chicken, pork dairy, stockfeed and day old chicks in all the major urban centres throughout Zambia therefore creating active linkages for players in the agricultural sector,” Mr Grogan articulated.

By building these forward and backward linkages, Zambeef has been able to secure consistent supply of cattle, pigs, maize and soya, facilitate value addition and market these products all over Zambia and into the region itself.

Zambeef as a key industry player is 100 per cent committed to supporting Zambian farmers in its vision of becoming the largest and the most affordable protein provider in the region and we commit to continue working with all our stakeholders to achieve this.

Mr Grogan further urged open and frank discussions with stakeholders in the sector about the kind of agriculture policies and instruments that are needed to attract the required investment which would accelerate the transformation which is already underway in the Zambia.

“We need targeted and tailored investment, what may have worked in the past may not be appropriate in the more complex market place of the day. We must all show leadership and vision and provide a reliable, functioning policy and environment to attract the large private sector investment we require into agriculture,” urged Mr Grogan.

Mr Grogan also highlighted the importance of grooming the next generation of Zambian farmers noting that it was never too early to start.

“We must also attract and harness the entrepreneurial spirit of our young farmers; we must give them hope, we must give them vision, we must show them the opportunities so that they can all take advantage,” said Mr Grogan.

He also touched on the need to improve efficiencies in order for the sector to take advantage of the existing resources and to be increasingly competitive.

“Policies should provide access to markets, access to credit, access to research and innovation, water harvesting, management, agricultural extension, dangers of climate change, smart farming and also reducing food loss and waste. We need to improve our efficiencies; we need to get our yields up and that requires investment,” said Mr Grogan.

Mr Grogan urged all to roll up their sleeves, embrace the agri-revolution and called on the ZNFU and stakeholders and to deliberately come together and plan a roadmap for the sector in a coordinated manner for the benefit of all.

“No farmer, no food, no future,” concluded Mr Grogan.

At the close of the conference, Zambeef presented a bull to President Edgar Chagwa Lungu as a gift.


Zambeef Joint Chief Executive Officers Francis Grogan (shaking hands with President Lungu) and Carl Irwin (left) present a bull to President Edgar Chagwa Lungu at the 112th Zambia National Farmers Union Congress.

Zambeef Joint Chief Executive Officers Francis Grogan (shaking hands with President Lungu) and Carl Irwin (left) present a bull to President Edgar Chagwa Lungu at the 112th Zambia National Farmers Union Congress.

Zambeef Joint Chief Executive Officers Francis Grogan and Carl Irwin present a bull to President Edgar Chagwa Lungu at the 112th Zambia National Farmers Union Congress.

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu admires a bull presented to him by Zambeef at the 112th Zambia National Farmers Union Congress with Zambeef Joint Chief Executive Officers Francis Grogan and Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Michael Katambo.

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu admires a bull presented to him by Zambeef at the 112th Zambia National Farmers Union Congress with Zambeef Joint Chief Executive Officers Francis Grogan and Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Michael Katambo.

President Edgar Chagwa Lungu with Agriculture Minister Dora Siliya (right) and Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Michael Katambo, Zambeef Joint Chief Executive Officers Francis Grogan and Carl Irwin and Zambeef staff at the 112th Zambia National Farmers Union Congress.

The bull presented by Zambeef to President Edgar Chagwa Lungu at the 112th Zambia National Farmers Union Congress.

The bull presented by Zambeef to President Edgar Chagwa Lungu at the 112th Zambia National Farmers Union Congress.

About Zambeef Products Plc
Zambeef Products Plc is the largest integrated agribusiness and food processing company in Zambia and one of the largest in the region.

The group is principally involved in the production, processing, distribution and retailing of beef, chicken, pork, milk, dairy products, eggs, stockfeed and flour. The group also has large row cropping operations (principally maize, soya beans and wheat), planting 16,500 hectares in summer and 8,000 hectares in winter. The group is also expanding its West Africa operations in Nigeria and Ghana.

The company slaughters around 70,000 beef cattle, 6.75 million chickens and 70,000 pigs per annum, while also processing 16 million litres of milk, producing 150,000 tons of stockfeed, 60 million eggs, 78,000 pairs of shoes and processes 97,500 hides in its tannery per year.
It has 187 retail outlets throughout Zambia and West Africa.

Zambeef employs over 6,500 people with a total of K307 million paid in remuneration and benefits in the last year, and contributed K144 million to Government in taxes and duties.

More information is available at www.zambeefplc.com

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