Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
Zambia has introduced the consumption and production of ‘Garri,’ one of Nigeria’s major staple foods, into the country’s school feeding programme.
Garri is derived from processed cassava, which is grown in almost all parts of Nigeria and in some West African countries.
But the investment appetite for the staple in the Southern African country has prompted the Zambian government to enter into partnership with JR Farms of Nigeria to grow cassava on a commercial scale.
The agreement was entered into recently in Lusaka by the Chief Executive Officer of JR Farms Limited, Mr. Rotimi Olawale, and the Chairman of Zambia National Cassava Association (ZANACA), Mr. Brighton Mulonga.
Besides producing garri in commercial quantity, the partnership will explore other opportunities in the cassava value chain which may include High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF), Starch, and Ethanol, among others.
Olawale said he was excited about the partnership and opportunity to work in the cassava value chain in Zambia that will promote food security, empower rural farmers and women, reduce post-harvest loss and add value to cassava in Zambia.
In a statement issued yesterday, he stressed that ZANACA has agreed to participate with JR Farms in providing farmers with tailored trainings, coaching, mentorship, access to inputs, and aggregation, among others.
“JR Farms agrees to honestly and openly handle the commercial function with farmers adhering to fair purchase prices, quantities, payment periods, payment modes, business ethics and general business practices,” Olawale said.
The Nigerian firm, which is also into coffee production in Rwanda, which it exports to eight countries in America, will set up the garri processing project, link the local farmers for off-take of cassava and sell garri to the Zambian populace and the Southern African region.
The Zambian government has the obligation to monitor farmers to ensure adherence to prescribed processing requirements and standards.
It will also create the avenues for JR farms to promote the garri produced in Zambia.