Booker Tate, part of Bosch Holdings plays a vital role in designing a PPP framework initiative in Mozambique’s agricultural sector

This was one of the many stakeholder engagement meetings held to explain the PPP concepts and to receive and discuss the feedback. The participants were some of the Cofamosa members and prospective farmers in the project.

Booker Tate’s entry in the ‘International Collaborative Project’ category of the 2018 British Expertise International (BEI) Awards, for designing a Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework initiative in the agricultural sector of Mozambique, was ‘Highly Commended’ at an event in London recently.

Booker Tate Limited – in association with a Mozambican firm, Leadership Business Consulting (LBC) – was engaged as consultant to design a PPP model for the financing and implementation of the Cofamosa Irrigation Project. This initiative in the agricultural sector of Mozambique, is expected to bring significant economic and social benefits to the Magude and Moamba Districts of Maputo Province.

Cofamosa Irrigation Project, which is a planned greenfield 10 000 hectare irrigated sugarcane development project, with 1 000 hectares of food security production, was conceptualised in 2002. The project stalled because the beneficiary stakeholders are smallholder communities, without financial resources. Following a series of technical and environmental studies, which confirmed the project’s viability, the Maputo Provincial Government (project proponent), Government of Mozambique and the African Development Bank (lead financiers) reached an accord in 2015, to develop the Cofamosa project under a PPP framework.

Booker Tate and LBC assembled a multi-disciplinary team of legal, social and technical specialists from the UK, Mozambique and South Africa and the team engaged project stakeholders, comprising beneficiaries, off-taker and government entities.

“Public Private Partnerships are common for infrastructure projects, like toll roads and dams, but less common in the agri-industrial sector, because of complicated arrangements for repayment surety,” explains Hugh Glyn-Jones, Managing Director, Booker Tate. “One of the challenges of this project was to design a viable PPP framework model, that would guarantee a flow of funds to repay loans for the capital required for the bulk infrastructure and downstream development.  This will be achieved by dividing the project into two components. Firstly, the bulk infrastructure component comprising bulk water supply, power and main roads and secondly, the downstream development component, comprising in-field irrigation systems, land development and crop establishment.

“We are optimistic that this initiative that will provide job opportunities, alleviate poverty and improve the livelihoods of the local community. Beneficiaries of this project will include the Cofamosa membership, farmers associations, small scale farmers, their dependents and service providers.

“It is understood that the project area has good topography, fertile soils and readily available irrigation water from the Corumana Dam. Harvested sugar cane, grown by smallholder farmers, will be delivered under contract to the nearby Xinavane Sugar Mill, which is privately owned and operated.

“It has been rewarding for the team, through collaborative efforts, to streamline a large and disparate stakeholder group – with a wide range of entrenched views and diverse expectations – to accept our proposed framework for financing and implementing this project.”

This PPP framework model, which is supported by Mozambican stakeholders, is likely to be replicated by other agricultural projects in Africa, which have similarly been stalled.

Booker Tate was acquired a year ago by a South African owned company – Bosch Projects Pty (Ltd) part of the Bosch Holdings group of multi-disciplinary consulting engineering companies. Together, Booker Tate and Bosch Projects have provided innovative, cost competitive technical solutions for cane sugar mills and refineries, cogeneration plants, ethanol distilleries, sugar cane production and general agribusiness, in over 100 countries. Specialist services extend from feasibility studies to detailed engineering design, construction and commissioning in both the agricultural and factory sectors.