BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
SILVERLANDS Zambia, an irrigated crop business, has attracted a K50 million investment to build a silo storage complex in Central Province with grain storage capacity of 70,000 tonnes at full capacity.
The agricultural firm is located in Serenje and Kakushi farming blocks
The new investment from impact investor, SilverStreet Capital, is expected to help boost food security in Zambia by providing a secure storage option for small-holder farmers.
Silverlands Zambia Managing Director Colin Huddy, hoped that the new investment would support the continued development of agricultural value-chains in Zambia.
Mr Huddy said the silos were strategically located next to the Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA) east of Mkushi town, enabling the project to benefit from national and regional transport links.
“Providing key storage infrastructure is essential to prevent post-harvest losses and ensure the supply of quality grains for the Country,” he said in a statement.
Grain in silo storage can be kept safely for up to two years whereas storage in bags is recommended to be limited to six to eight months.
SilverStreet Capital representative, Simon Morgan, emphasised the importance of the project saying the infrastructure would help secure Zambia’s crop.
Mr Morgan said the silos bring much needed storage infrastructure to this highly productive area.
“In the longer term we expect that the enlarged facility will form a strategic link with East Africa via the TAZARA rail system,” he said.
Ben Frampton, founding member of Foundations for Farming, indicated that farmers rarely had sufficient storage space, making post-harvest loss a huge challenge.
“Having worked with small-scale farmers, I know how easy it is to lose grain because of pests during storage,” Mr Frampton said.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, around 30 percent of food is lost during handling and storage, compared to only six percent in North America.
A shortage of storage facilities forces farmers to sell at harvest time when prices are lowest, thus eroding their returns.