* Firm to build factory, houses
* Govt encourages investments from Gulf countries
LUSAKA, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Saudi firm Menafea Holding plans to invest $125 million in a 5,000 hectare farm in north-western Zambia during 2011, where it will grow pineapples and build a factory to produce juice, a board member said on Friday.
Khaled Alrajhi said Menafea would also build 2,000 housing units in the Zambian capital Lusaka under the same agreement, signed with Zambia’s investment promotion agency.
“We have been granted 5,000 hectares of land to grow pineapples using the latest technology and are going to put up a factory to produce juice for local consumption as well as export,” Alrajhi said.
Zambia Development Agency director for investment promotion, Muhabi Lungu, said more Saudi firms were expected to invest in the southern African state.
In December, Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said Zambia did not regard leasing farmland to foreign investors as a form of “colonialism” and was encouraging Gulf countries to invest in its agricultural sector. [ID:nLDE6B305N] (Reporting by Chris Mfula, Editing by Ron Askew)