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Zambia National Cassava Association, JR Farms partner on commercialcassava processing in Zambia

By From: Olawale Rotimi Opeyemi
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Project targets food security in Zambia and South African region; reducing post harvest loss in the cassava value chain, promoting quality nutrition and empowering local farmers/women in Zambia.

JR Farms Limited is an emerging African agribusiness with the mandate to transform agriculture in Africa by undertaking opportunities for growth and business that will engender sustainable food production and increased income for farmers in Africa. JR Farms Limited is registered in America (Massachusetts), Nigeria and Rwanda respectively. The company processes cassava into garri in Nigeria; in Rwanda, the company process, package and export coffee to eight countries; in America, the company is trading coffee.

Zambia National Cassava Association (ZANACA) registered in 2012 by registrar of societies and her mission is to enhance the capacity of farmers, processors and other value chain players through improved production, processing, market access and access to technical information and favorable policy. ZANACA has contacts with about 3,000 small holder cassava farmers in their respective cooperatives and sites.

JR Farms Limited, having identified the opportunities in the cassava sector in Zambia and engaged in intensive business interactions with local partners in Zambia, resolved to venture into cassava value chain project in Zambia with her partners. This investment appetite was triggered by the interest of the Zambian government in promoting cassava processing through the introduction of “garri” to the national school feeding scheme project in Zambia.

Identifying the uniformity of interest, experience and tenacity in relation to cassava processing; JR Farms Limited and the Zambian National Cassava Association entered into an agreement to partner on the production of garri in Zambia at commercial scale and other opportunities in the cassava value chain which may include High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF), Starch, Ethanol among others.

Some of the obligations of both parties include:

ZANACA:
Organisation of Farmers

  • ZANACA agrees to mobilise and coordinate farmers for the purposes of linking them to JR Farms.
  • ZANACA agrees to provide land equity where the JR Farms cassava project will be sited.
  • Organise local women and youth for trainings and employment in the cassava processing project
  • Provide avenues for JR farms to promote the garri produced in Zambia
  • Facilitate easy approval of food production and other certifications in Zambia.

Business Development Services

  • ZANACA agrees to participate with JR Farms in providing farmers with tailored trainings, coaching, mentorship, access to inputs, aggregation etc.

Quality Control
ZANACA agrees to monitor farmers to ensure adherence to prescribed processing requirements and standards

JR Farms
Business and Market Linkages
JR Farms agrees to set up the cassava processing project to produce garri, link local farmers for off-take of cassava and sell garri to the Zambian populace and the South African region.

Commercial Obligation
JR Farms agrees to honestly and openly handle the commercial function with farmers adhering to fair purchase prices, quantities, payment periods, payment modes, business ethics and general business practices.

The agreement was signed in Lusaka by the CEO of JR Farms Limited, Olawale, Rotimi Opeyemi and the Chairman of ZANACA, Mr Brighton Mulonga. After signing the agreement, both parties expressed optimism about the partnership. Speaking, the chairperson of ZANACA, Mr Brighton Mulonga stated that the Zambian government has been promoting the cassava sector because cassava is a major crop that can grow all year with little rainfall. Lamenting about the weather condition which has continently affected maize production in Zambia, Mr Brighton described the project as a project that will promote food security in Zambia and the South African Region.

Olawale Rotimi, the CEO of JR Farms while speaking noted that JR Farms is excited to work with ZANACA in the cassava value chain in Zambia to promote food security, empower rural farmers and women, reduce post harvest loss and add value to cassava in Zambia.

Zambia would be the fourth nation where JR Farms will establish business operations.