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Invest in cassava value chain, Nigerians told

KALONDE NYATI, Lusaka
NIGERIAN investors have been urged to consider investing in the cassava value chain, as Zambia aspires to unlock the commercial potential of the crop to increase employment opportunities and revenue.
Last year, the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission unveiled an K8 million programme aimed at supporting women and youth in the cassava value chain while the African Development Bank provided US$6 million for the project, which is expected to create 12,000 jobs on the Copperbelt, Lusaka, Solwezi and Kasama.
Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Kayula Siame told a delegation from the Centres for Entrepreneurial Development drawn from various universities in Nigeria that that country can use its expertise to boost cassava commercialisation in Zambia.
Mrs Siame said the cassava value chain initiatives could be done through joint-venture partnerships with local investors.
The delegation is in the country on a fact-finding mission on business opportunities in the agriculture, energy and education sectors.
“We are looking at increasing value to agriculture and one of our key areas is commercialisation of cassava. We are aware that Nigeria has a lot of experience in terms of cassava production and processing,” she said.
Mrs Siame said with the commodity having various industrial uses, investors should consider unlocking the potential of cassava, which will go a long way in Zambia’s agriculture diversification drive and value addition.
She also told the delegation that there is need for investors to explore opportunities in packaging of products as this will go a long way in accelerating the growth of industries.
“As we begin to add value to our products, packaging and branding are essential to open up an opportunity for investors,” she said.
Mrs Siame said Zambia remains open for investors across sectors and has put in place policies that favour investments, citing investor protection agreements as some of the incentives.

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