Zambia seeks farm sector investment

Kolkata, Mar 29 | Updated: Mar 30 2007, 07:31am hrs
The Zambian government is keen to attract Indian investment for commercial agriculture and is ready to give as much as 25,000 hectares or 250 sqkm on a 99-year lease to a single investor for cultivating rice, wheat, maize, cotton and jathropha.

Keli Walubita, the Zambian high commissioner in India, said Zambia, till recently an importer of food grains, has started exporting the same to its neighbouring countries--Congo, Tanzania, Malawi Mozambique and Zimbabwe. The country exported food grains worth $100 million in 2005-06.

India, one of the biggest investors in the Zambian mining sector, its economic mainstay, can now look into opportunities of investing in areas like agriculture, manufacturing and IT.

Zambia is ready to introduce a single window facility to facilitate more Indian investment, Walubita said.

Walubita was speaking at an interactive session organised by the Merchant's Chamber of Commerce here Thursday.

He said bilateral economic relationship between India and Zambia had started in 1975 with the signing of the first general agreement on economic co-operation and joint ventures.

A number of Indian companies have started investing in Zambia from 1996. Sterlite Industries, which the Zambian government has selected as its strategic partner for reviving Konkola Copper mines, the biggest one in Zambia, is one of the top Indian investors there.