Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited (ZAFFICO) is a State Owned Enterprise (SOE) and a member of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Group, which was incorporated under the Companies Act CAP 388 of the Laws of Zambia for the purpose of developing and maintaining of pine and eucalyptus plantations and for the harvesting and commercial processing of timber to supply timber to the local and foreign market. The Corporation was incorporated in September 1982 following the commercialisation of the Industrial Plantations Division of the Forestry Department.
The history of industrial plantations goes back to the early 1930s when trial plots of various species, mainly pine and later eucalyptus, were established in many parts of the country, as it was realised that in the long term the indigenous forest resources would not meet the country’s timber requirements because of poor regeneration, slow growth rates, long gestation periods and lower productivity per unit area. Encouraged by the results from the species trials, large-scale planting of pine started at Chichele, near Ndola, and was, in subsequent years, extended to Chati. In addition
to the Government’s own funds, two World Bank loans (in 1968 and 1978), supplemented by a grant from the Commonwealth Development Corporation, helped develop plantations of pine and eucalyptus covering an area of over 50,000 hectares spread over the Copperbelt Province in Ndola, Kalulushi, Chingola, Lufwanyama, Mufulira and Kitwe. In order to meet the growing demand for timber, the Corporation has commenced the plantation expansion programme in Kawambwa and Shiwangandu Districts of Luapula and Muchinga Provinces respectively. Currently, ZAFFICO has about 50,000 hectares of pine and eucalyptus plantations located on the Copperbelt, Luapula and Muchinga Provinces.
In addition to the establishment and management of exotic forest plantation, ZAFFICO currently manages the Kawambwa Tea Estate which the Government of Zambia recently compulsorily acquired in 2016 and handed over to ZAFFICO for its management and operation as a Division of the Corporation. The Division, formerly Kawambwa Tea Company, started as a project in 1969 with a view of creating employment opportunities to the people of Zambia and also as one of the strategies of economic development. The Kawambwa tea was then commercialised and incorporated into a State Owned Enterprise in 1975. In 1976, the tea factory was commissioned. The Tea Estate continued to be managed as a State Owned Enterprise until 1996 when the company was privatised and sold to Binani Group of Companies of India. In 2000, the company went into receivership until 2002 when the company was again sold to Khumul Holdings of Zimbabwe until it was acquired by the Government of the Republic of Zambia in 2016 to secure over 350 tea workers’ jobs, following the abandonment of the estate by its previous owner.