We invested $65 million in Zambeef, an agribusiness in Zambia, in early 2016. It was our first direct equity investment in the country since the early 2000s, and supports a major employer in the country, with Zambeef providing jobs for over 7,500 people.
The company operates its own farms, producing, processing and distributing different products – from animal protein, such as beef and chicken, to crops, including wheat, maize and soybeans – as well as works with a large network of farmers, the majority of whom are small-scale producers. It also has a chain of retail outlets, which operate across the country, including in areas which lack access to other formal retail providers.
Since we first invested in the business, we have supported the company to significantly expand the number of farmers it procures from. This number has increased from 10,000 farmers in 2016 to 53,000 in 2021. It means that the company is providing a much-needed route to market for an increasing number of farmers, supporting jobs and livelihoods.
In addition to Zambeef being a major customer for these farmers, they also benefit from the support that Zambeef provides. This includes advice on increasing crop yields and caring for livestock, as well as providing up-to-date price information and help in treating cattle diseases in remote areas. Ultimately, this leads to greater scale and quality of output for these farmers, further improving their incomes and livelihoods.