Ilobezi Limited aims to provide a reliable market for smallholder cattle and sunflower seed in Zambia’s Southern Province.
AgDevCo, a social impact agribusiness investor, announced a $1.1m debt investment into a Zambian feedlot.
The company, Ilobezi Limited, is a growing feedlot purchasing cattle from indigenous farmers. At steady state, estimates are that Ilobezi will purchase 8,200 animals per year. Ilobezi offers a better price to smallholders for higher quality cattle, thereby rewarding the uptake of best practices.
Zambia’s Southern Province accounts for 40% of cattle kept under traditional management systems. Cattle have a high cultural value and form a significant source of income for smallholders.
Additionally, Ilobezi will purchase sunflower seed from smallholders, while providing support in the form of improved seed and extension services. Ilobezi processes sunflower seed creating additional jobs, in particular for women.
Maize production dominates Zambian agriculture. Offering farmers an alternative crop such as sunflower, which is less prone to drought, will allow farmers to diversify, making them more resilient to climate change while improving incomes.
Ilobezi provides formal employment in a rural area and offers a much-needed reliable market.
AgDevCo funding will be used to purchase sunflower seed and cattle as well as expansion of oil processing, storage and farming and irrigation equipment to grow maize silage.
Peter MacSporran, AgDevCo Zambia’s country director said: “We believe that by helping organisations such as Ilobezi that are dependent on and interact intensively with smallholder farmers, AgDevCo can contribute to agriculture and processing in Zambia’s Southern Province and help increase incomes for thousands of smallholder farmers”.
Nicola Coeli, Ilobezi’s director said: “We look forward to increasing our interaction with smallholders and believe that we are able to promote and diversify sources of income for thousands of these farmers”.
AgDevCo is a social impact investor and agribusiness project developer, incorporated as a not-for-profit distribution company in the United Kingdom. With support from UKAid, AgDevCo invests patient capital in the form of debt and equity into early-stage agribusinesses. AgDevCo’s mission is to reduce poverty and improve food security, and it has invested over USD 76 million in 51 agribusinesses in sub-Saharan Africa to date, connecting over 90,000 farmers to markets and generating over 2,800 jobs.