South African commercial farmers group Agri-All Africa (AAA) has announced plans to step up agricultural investments in 11 African “priority destinations”.
These include Zambia, Nigeria, DRC, Angola, Mozambique, Malawi, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Namibia and Sudan.
In a position paper issued days after Agri-All SA client farmers met at Senekal Farm in the Free State to discuss ways to ensure the successful implementation of agriculture investments in the priority destinations, the group said the success of agro-investments would depend on consensus and cooperation between the respective governments and farmers.
“Featured in the meeting were current opportunities to make a difference in agricultural development and upliftment, as well as potential future. Focal areas of investment were discussed. The client-farmers, AAA structures including three board members, diplomatic representation, and agribusiness value chain representatives, including PB Projects, Senter360, and AFGRI were represented on the Senekal Farm discussing agricultural investment opportunities and how to minimise risk and create assurance into Africa options.
“Consensus was achieved that the cooperation among the key elements and actors are essential to reach proper managed and implementable projects that will change the lives of people on the ground inclusive of commercial viability for all stakeholders.
“Charl Senekal of Senekal Boerdery, as an AAA board member, expressed satisfaction as well as willingness to support projects that are processed through the AAA value chain,” AAA said.
The group said more South African farmers had joined it and expressed serious interest in setting out for new destinations, especially in West Africa where the prospects of profitable and secure agricultural investments have been buoyed by the recent appointment of Dr Johanne Kotze as AAA Director of Strategic Development Planning, as well as Johan Jonker, as Project Developer for Western Africa with special emphasis on Nigeria.
“The amount of interested farmers who are contacting AAA on a daily basis have increased to such an extent that the capacity of AAA must be strengthened, as well as to give support to the AAA platforms that were formed in Zambia, Nigeria, DRC, and on the verge of being launched in Angola, Mozambique and Ethiopia. “
Andre Botha, AAA Katanga, DRC, has stated his confidence in these structures is high as they approach business opportunities with a full social upliftment agenda which is deemed critical for sustainability of farming operations in Africa,” the group said.
Addressing the meeting, Zambian High Commissioner to South Africa, Emmanuel Mwamba, said South African farmers should take advantage of the absence of conflict, investor friendly policies, political stability and the abundance of arable farmland in Zambia to develop the agricultural sector.
“Zambia is one of the richest countries in terms of natural resources. We have huge tracts of arable land across a country of over 700 000 square kilometres, but unfortunately we only utilise about 10 percent of this. You can fly into Zambia today to register your company and within 24 hours the process would have been completed,” he said.
In Zambia, land and other immovable investments are guaranteed and protected against nationalisation or appropriation by the State through a Certificate of Registration issued to the investor in terms of the Zambia Development Agency Act of 2006.