HARARE – Agro-industrial firm National Foods has reaffirmed its commitment to contract farming for various cereal crops, particularly maize, soya beans, and wheat, in order to support its raw material supply.
This initiative is in line with the company’s strategy to ensure a steady source of essential ingredients for its operations.
In early 2023, National Foods announced a substantial investment of US$12 million toward contract farming for the 2022–23 agriculture season.
The company’s contract farming program is overseen by Paperhole Investments (PHI) Commodities, responsible for crop production, including maize, soya beans, and sorghum.
National Foods also engages with local farmers, procuring grain from them.
In cases where local supply falls short, the company resorts to importing grain to meet its production needs.
Todd Moyo, the group chairman, highlighted the recent summer harvest results, stating, “During the summer harvest, we purchased approximately 30,000 metric tons of wheat and 7,000 metric tons of soya grown under the contract farming scheme.
“For the current winter wheat crop, PHI/A Growth contracted farmers have planted 6,500 hectares, and the harvesting of this crop is expected to begin soon.”
These developments were discussed in the company’s 2023 annual report.
National Foods aims for food security
In alignment with government policy, as outlined in National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and the Agriculture and Food Systems Strategy, PHI aims to enhance production within both the contract farming and corporate farming divisions.
This initiative seeks to bolster domestic crop yields and reduce the reliance on imports.
National Foods operates across various segments, from flour and maize milling to pre-packaged dry groceries.
The group is also involved in the manufacturing of stock feeds and holds a 40 percent stake in Pure Oil Industries, which produces Pure Drop cooking oil.
Moreover, the company is in the midst of a phased 3-year upgrade of the Aspindale stock-feed plant, which commenced in 2022.
National Foods has revealed a substantial pipeline of new projects with a projected investment value of US$30 million.
These endeavors will enable the company to enter new categories and reduce the importation of manufactured food products into the country, further cementing its commitment to strengthening domestic food production and self-sufficiency.