PS International, a US trading company that specialises in agricultural commodities has entered into an investment deal worth $42 million with Zambia’s Freshpikt Ltd for tomato processing.
Freshpikt is a food processing and canning company which started operations recently following its acquisition of Zambia Horticultural Products Limited (Zamhort).
PS International’s planned capital injection into Freshpikt is an investment signed during the recent 10th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum in Zambia’s capital, Lusaka.
The money will be invested between now and 2016 resulting in Freshpikt becoming a giant in tomato production and processing in the southern African region.
Zambia hosted the 10th AGOA forum under the theme, Enhanced trade through increased competitiveness, value addition and deeper regional integration.
Zambia’s Commerce, Trade and Industry minister, Felix Mutati, said deals like these signal a new turn in AGOA partnerships that involve investment and not just exporting to the US. “We have seen in research that 75% of the activities under AGOA are in trade and only around 25% are in investment. We are beginning to change that equation to put more emphasis on investment, and when the US invests it does not necessarily mean that we are going to export into the US,” Mutati said.
Freshpikt plans to create over 2,000 job opportunities for Zambians as production capacity grows with new equipment from the US.
Said David Morrow, of PS International, who is the project manager for the Zambia joint venture: “We are hoping that with the markets that we are looking at, we can grow about $25 million worth of tomatoes a year.” The US government intends to extend AGOA from 2015 to 2025.