RAJKOT: Soon, farmers from Kutch will be cultivating land thousands of miles away in the African continent.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed on Thursday between a Kutch-based company Odhav Housing Project Pvt Ltd and Zambia-based Fidanna Group Ltd.

Under the agreement, farmers from Kutch would cultivate 10,000 hectare land in Zambia’s , Chongwe, Mkushi and provinces. The MoU was signed during the international trade festival organized in Rajkot by Saurashtra Vepar Udhyog Mahamandal (SVUM).

Rajendra Tank, vice-president of Bhuj Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed the MoU on behalf of Odhav Housing Project Pvt Ltd.

Talking to TOI, Tank said, “There is a huge population of Patels in Kutch with their roots in African countries. Their relatives have settled down there. These Patels from Kutch are interested to do business in African countries.”

He added, “We will put forward this proposal before our members who will visit the site. Thereafter, interested traders will sign the lease agreement with the government of Zambia.”

Zambia’s main crop is maize and majority of the farmers still use traditional farming methods. Under the agreement with Fidanna Group, Kutch traders want to jointly develop the agriculture in 10,000-hectare land in Solwezi, Chongwe, Mkushi and Mumbwa.

According to the terms and conditions of the MoU, “The deal will be finalized after a visit and survey of the land. Visa, license, government documentation, labour management and operations will be the responsibility of the Fidanna Group.”

The Indian businessmen and farmers will cultivate the land with latest technology and provide the marketing technique to Zambian companies.

President of Bhuj Chamber of Commerce and Industry Anil Gor said, “We plan to cultivate pulses there. The government there gives exemption in income tax to agro companies and there is no export duty. The labour too is cheap there. We just have to send our supervisors.” The project is expected to begin in the next one year.

Don Fidelis Chulu II, founder and CEO of Fidanna Group Ltd, told TOI, “We are looking for strategic partnership in agriculture because only 10% of fertile land in our country is under cultivation. The Indian businessmen will transfer us technology and train our people. We plan to export the agro commodities to African, European and Asian countries.”

He said that they want to focus on cultivation of groundnut and honey with the help of Indian farmers.

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