April 13, 2021
Business of operating crop processing plants
On March 16, 2021, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a loan agreement with ETC Group (ETG), an African originated group with expertise across various agricultural industries, including managing full agricultural supply chains. The funds will be utilized by ETG to construct and operate crop processing plants across Zambia and Malawi. And the first disbursement was made on March 29. On April 12, Director General, Private Sector Partnership and Finance Department of JICA, met online with Group Joint CEO of ETG to exchange ideas for cooperation and future collaboration.
Agriculture is an essential industry in Zambia and Malawi, providing employment for majority of the working population. There is vast potential for value addition initiatives to the industry as a whole, including the expansion of logistical and processing capabilities. High value-added agriculture, in turn, is expected to boost economic growth. This project is designed to support the constructing and operation of crop processing plants to be run by ETG in the two countries. It will contribute to improvement of local agricultural value chains and adding more value to agriculture in the two countries. The processed products will be for distribution and consumption in the Southern African region, including Zambia and Malawi. Majority of the raw material for processing, such as soybeans, will be procured from local small scale farmers, thus contributing towards their economic stability.
Since establishment in 1967, ETG remains unhindered in their commitment to uplift farming communities. In May 2018, JICA signed a memorandum of cooperation (MOC) with Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (one of ETG’s shareholders) and ETG to collectively work towards assisting Africa achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This loan agreement is associated with the aforesaid MOC.
With this project, JICA will contribute to maintaining the local agricultural supply chains that are exposed to COVID-19 risks as well as to achieving three of the SDGs: Goal 9, 2, and 17.