Zambia currently imports close to 100% of its seed potato requirements. This project will allow for import substitution as well as export opportunities. The farm is also intended to kick-start investment in an area where there is currently little formal agricultural investment. Power outages, potato pests and diseases as well as droughts provide a challenging environment for growing seed potatoes, hence a reliable power supply and irrigation are paramount for the successful cultivation of this crop.
AgDevCo’s initial investment of $3.9m was used to establish irrigation (250ha) and power. In addition, farm equipment, sheds, cold stores and machinery were purchased, enabling crops to be grown under irrigation and ensuring security against droughts. Potatoes are also grown in the winter, the period of lowest disease pressure, and are to be stored in climate-controlled warehouses for the following year’s distribution to farmers. In 2017, based on the highly positive reviews of the 2016 crop (Saise seed being preferred by most commercial farmers to imports), and higher than expected customer interest in the 2017 crop AgDevCo approved a $2.3m follow on investment into Saise Farm for additional cold stores. Katito Farms has been contracted to grow on behalf of Saise Farm.
The farm will grow c50ha of seed potatoes annually at steady state.
Export enquiries received for c.500t of seed equating to 30% of annual production.
First two years’ of produce successfully harvested and marketed.
55ha of irrigation to be established annually leading up to a final 217ha of irrigated production.