Africa-Press – Zambia. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has empowered a Kapiri Mposhi based agricultural Small Medium Enterprise (SME), Vaps Zambia Limited Company, with soya bean processing equipment worth K 2.8 million.
The equipment supplied as a matching grant through the Enhanced Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Program (E-SAPP) being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture, has been provided to set up a soya bean processing plant to support small holder soya bean farmers with ready market in the district.
Inspecting the processing plant which is already in production, IFAD Country Director, Ellemson Muyangana explained that, IFAD has committed USD 20.1 million of which a substantial allocation will go towards providing grants in form of agricultural equipment and implements to small scale farmers across the country.
Mr. Muyangana said this is meant to support small holder farmers in agribusiness for them to graduate from subsistence to the commercial farming bracket.
He observed that with a rise in the annual soya bean production of which about 90 percent is produced by small scale farmers soya bean processing equipment is critical to enhance the crop’s value chain for small holder farmers.
“To catalyse the soya bean agribusiness sector, we have been giving out matching grants in form of agricultural equipment and implements to support small holder farmers so this particular enterprise has gotten K2.8 million to be invested in soya bean processing and storage facilities and this enterprise will work with 350 small scale soya bean farmers who are supplied with inputs and then they supply to this enterprise which is going to process and sale to the broader market,” he said.
And E-SAPP Country Director, Boniface Mulenga said over 350 soya bean small scale farmers are expected to directly and indirectly benefit from the processing plant.
Mr. Mulenga disclosed that through the partnership with VAPS Zambia Limited, farmers received input packs and altogether planted over 140 hectares of soya beans with an expected yield of 3.5 tonnes per farmer in the 2021/2022 farming season which is expected to feed into the processing equipment.
He stressed that the programme targets to stimulate an increase in soya bean production among small holder farmers from one hectare to five hectares per farmer within the three year project implementation window.
” We are hoping that by the end of the third year of the project, these farmers will increase their hectarage thereby increasing the volume of soya bean production and increasing their income. Partnering with Vaps Zambia Limited which will provide ready market for soya beans from farmers as it will need feedstock to process the soya bean into cooking oil and stock feed,” Mr. Mulenga said.
Meanwhile, Vaps Director, Preston Nkhoma said his enterprise provides technical skills on soya bean production best practices to its follower farmers for improved agricultural outcomes.
“Vaps provides inputs and is an off taker of the soya beans for 140 farmers. Our target is to have at least 350 farmers on board and we pay them cash promptly and they don’t need to incur transport costs to go and sale their produce,” Mr. Nkhoma said.