AMATHEON Agri Zambia (AAZ) plans to establish a multi-million Kwacha commercial irrigated agricultural scheme in Mumbwa that will create about 1,000 jobs and mitigate the increasing food prices in the country.
The company has set aside about K212 million for the project to be at the Big Concession farming block, according to its environmental impact statement (EIS) submitted to the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) obtained by the Daily Mail on Wednesday.
The report says the project will provide alternative competitive prices for food crops resulting in reduced food prices.
“AAZ is an agro-investment company of the Amatheon Agri Holding NV which intends to purchase and develop up to 60,000 hectares of the Big Concession farming block located 56 kilometres north of Mumbwa central business district from exiting private owners,” the statement reads.
The development which is the second phase will be implemented over a five-year period under centre-pivot irrigation for food crops and animal protein production namely; wheat, maize, soya beans and barley.
“The farming block is an expansion of the irrigation agricultural second phase at a cost of K212 million,” the statement reads.
The EIS says the project will improve infrastructure in the area, boost agriculture produce, enhance the country food security and increase traditional export for cash crops.
The report says the socioeconomic benefits of the project will be that it will contribute to job creation for the locals, improvement of the local livelihood due to multiple effects and corporate social responsibilities, increase revenue to the government, enhance crop diversification and food security in the country.
However, the project will displace about 39 households and fields will be affected.
To mitigate this effect, the company has set aside about K493, 834 for the Resettlement Action Plan for those affected.
Under the plan, the company is expected to construct 140 housing blocks in 2013, 150 blocks in 2014 and 160 blocks in 2015 for the affected people.
The project is also envisaged to have negative effects on the community such as increased sexual diseases and culture conflict due the influx of migrates and, pressure on the social economy due to increased demand in social services.