The Agri-Business Sector in Zambia
Despite the fact that the agricultural sector contributes only 5.3% to Zambia’s GDP, it is still the most important sector from a socio-economic point of view. African Statistical Yearbook data shows that 62.5% of the economically active population are involved in agriculture, most of them small-scale farmers who depend on the sector for their livelihoods and employment. There are also an estimated 3,000 medium-and large-scale farmers. Large commercial farms, although they comprise a small percentage of the total number of farms, play an important role in the sector, as they account for most of the output of sugar, tobacco, wheat, potatoes and soya beans.
Challenges in the Sector
Challenges faced by Zambia's agricultural sector include a reliance on rain-fed growing because of the poor irrigation infrastructure, limited mechanisation and inadequate infrastructure to transport produce. Smallholder farmers find it difficult to access credit and only 3% of the estimated 1.5 million small-scale farmers have title deeds, which in many cases discourages them from adopting a long-term approach to their land. In the agri-business sector Zambia could supply all of its edible oil requirements if it utilised the installed processing capacity, which amounts to more than 161,000t of refined edible oils and a crushing capacity of 400,000t of oilseeds per year. However, competition from cheaper and in many cases illegally imported edible oils is a problem.
The detailed Agri-Business in Zambia report examines current conditions, investment in the sector and factors that influence the success of the sector including the rapidly increasing urban population and government support. Profiles are provided for 31 role players ranging from market leader, National Milling Corporation Ltd which has an estimated market share of 25% and 30% in the wheat flour and maize meal markets, to Amigo Foods Ltd which owns one potato farm and one factory that manufactures potato crisps.