Zambia seeks Indian investment in agriculture

New Delhi, Aug 5 (IANS) Indian farmers may soon be looking to Zambia for sugar with the southern African nation seeking India’s cooperation and investment in agricultural production.

In a meeting between a visiting Zambian business delegation and the Maharashtra Rural Development Minister Jayant Patil in Mumbai Wednesday, it was decided that a delegation of Indian commercial farmers will be visiting Zambia in December.

‘A group of Indian commercial farmers, mostly specialized in sugar production, is expected in Zambia in December to explore prospects of investing in Nansanga farm block in the central province, which the government has set aside for agricultural purposes,’ said an official of the Zambian High Commission here.

The Zambian delegation was led by Deputy Finance and National Planning Minister David Phiri and Deputy Commerce Minister, Lwipa Puma. The 15-member group arrived in India two weeks ago, and has spent the majority of its time meeting Indian officials and businessmen in Mumbai, the country’s business capital.

The delegation was ‘especially keen to learn about India’s successful experience from private-public partnership from agriculture to tourism’, the official said.

They visited and met with officials of Tata Group and Essar. While Tata group already has substantial investments in Zambia, Essar group, which has interests in steel, energy, power and minerals, has expressed interest in infrastructure development in the African country.

‘A total of 35 company chief executives, who had one-on-one discussions with our ministers, showed enthusiasm in visiting Zambia as soon as possible to identify projects in which they can invest,’ said the high commission official.

Among the Indian companies, Premium Hotels and Palaces have shown interest in building conference and hotel facilities near Zambia’s main tourist attraction, the Victoria Falls.

Indian companies have made investments amounting to $3 billion in Zambia, with Vedanta Resources alone making an investment of $1.6 billion in Zambia’s largest Konkola copper mines.

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