Agriculture and Agri Business
The economy of Eastern Province is heavily based on agriculture and agribusiness. Although there are few large or small commercial farms, the significant agro production in the Province is largely from smaller traditional farms and smallholders, in many cases, where transport infrastructure is available, participating in out grower schemes. The Province is one of the highest regional producer of maize in Zambia, ranging between 25 – 30% of national production. There are a number of significant agribusinesses based in the Eastern Province, including tobacco and cotton. Annual estimates of farm incomes from the sale of cotton exceed US $ 15m. There is sufficient cotton grown in the province to consider the viability of establishing a yarn spinning and textile weaving facility. Further, national statistics show that of Zambia’s exports in cotton and tobacco, between 50 – 60 % comes from produce grown in the Eastern Province. Production capacities of tobacco are continuously increasing and investment in a tobacco processing plant would have sufficient raw material. Eastern Province groundnut production is estimated to account for more than 40% of national production. Oil processing from groundnuts, sunflower and Soya beans is currently a growing industry and worth further investment. Opportunities for processing groundnuts also include snack foods and peanut butter. The provincial business and public sector leadership is encouraging investment in value added production, to agricultural produce, including livestock. In view of the significant contribution of agricultural produce from Eastern Province to national exports, the Province occupies a strategically advantaged position, both in the short term for increased primary agricultural exports, and in the mid-long term with regards processed agricultural products.