Zambia benefits from Chinese trade, investment and development

LUSAKA, Zambia – The East African nation of Zambia is fully engaged in trade, investment and development relationship with the People’s Republic of China.

Last week, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) tendered a high-definition cropland distribution dataset to Zambia.  The dataset is expected to help the southern African nation develop its agriculture sector.

According to Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the Zambia National Fine Resolution Cropland Data Layer provides nationwide close to real-time cropland data and up to a 10-meter resolution ratio.

Yan Qing, head of the academy’s Bureau of Science and Technology for Development said considering the improved measuring resolution, the dataset will make a significant improvement in cropland mapping for the Zambia.

Such a time-series cropland data is precious for analyzing driving mechanisms of cropland distribution, as well as the cropland’s impact on water resources and food security, Yan said.

“Recent advances and trends in geospatial technologies are making it easier and more cost-effective to monitor food and agriculture resources in a timely manner,” said Peter Kalunga, Director of Agriculture in the ministry.

Sources say the dataset which is built upon the CAS’ Big Earth Data Program launched in 2018, is one of the projects promoting earth observation in the Belt and Road region for sustainable development.

The earth observation was the key to addressing the information gap in food production, food security and nutrition in Zambia, said Kaluga.

Prior to the CAS donation, a Chinese mining firm pledged to support more small-holder farmers in Zambia.  China Non-ferrous Metal Company Luanshya Copper Mine (CLM), a Chinese-owned mining firm in Zambia, said it is considering supporting over 200 small-scale farmers next year in the east African country.

The step is a way of augmenting the Zambian government’s efforts to diversify into agricultural sector for increased food production, according to Sydney Chieya, the company’s spokesman.

Chileya said CLM currently supports 100 vulnerable but viable scale farmers in Luanshya district on the Copperbelt Province.

Chileya said the number of small-scale farmers to be supported is expected to increase to 200 next years from the current 100 beneficiaries.

“As a company we have a deliberate annual program to support vulnerable but viable small scale farmers in the district, we are working in collaboration with the office of the Luanshya mayor, the office of the district commissioner including that of the Member of Parliament to carry out this program,” Chileya said.

In another investment development, the Fujian Haian Rubber Company Limited, a tire manufacturing firm from China has established its base in Zambia to market its products and services in Africa, a company official said last week.

The company supplies its products to the mining industry in Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa and Senegal.

According to Eric Lin, the company director for the Africa market, the opening of a head office in Zambia seeks to cover the wider African market.

“We have established our head office in Zambia, we supply our products to the mining firms, in Copperbelt, Solwezi, Kansanshi here in Zambia, we also have a market in DRC, South Africa and Senegal, we hope to expand our market using Zambia as our base,” he said.

Lin said his company selected Zambia because it is a stable country that offers opportunities for foreign direct investment.

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