Lusaka – The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Ursus S.A., a Polish company, have signed a K1billion (US$100 million) contract through a Government-to-Government agreement to construct a tractor and agricultural equipment assembly plant in the Lusaka South Multi-Facility Economic Zone.

The contract involves the delivery of 2,694 units of tractors and 2,509 units of agriculture machinery with implements and spare parts.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of Finance Hon. Felix Mutati, MP said the partnership between IDC and Ursus will minimize gaps in mechanical technology in the agriculture sector.

Hon. Mutati said His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu was leading Government's efforts to spearhead industrialisation and technology in the agriculture sector. He continued to say that President Lungu considered industrialisation and mechanisation as key to increasing productivity levels, reducing poverty and job creation.

The Minister revealed that the country had received investment pledges worth over US$100 million in the agriculture sector. He also revealed that government will launch an agriculture credit guarantee fund for farmers next month where it will meet 50% of the collateral required. In addition, Hon. Mutati stated that government will soon carry out reforms in the sector which will see a combination of e-voucher and mechanization equipment support.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, IDC Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Mateyo C. Kaluba said the IDC Group looked forward to the commencement of works at the plant and the mechanisation agenda for farmers.

Ursus President, Mr. Karol Zarajcyk said the project was one of the company’s most important in its history, adding that negotiations only took months and were concluded because of the commitment shown by President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

And Honorary Consul General of Poland in Zambia Maryla Wisniewski said the Polish government is happy with the bilateral relations with Zambia.

The plant will assemble 10,000 units annually and export tractors and other agrilcultural equipment to the Southern Africa region. Ursus Zambia will create 400 jobs in 10 service centres across the country and 300 direct jobs at the plant.