The USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub boosts trade and investment with and within Southern Africa.

View By Country: South Africa, Zambia
View By Month: July 2020

The USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub is facilitating an innovative pilot program between two social enterprises — Zambia-based COMACO and South Africa’s U-Can-Grow — that will link small-scale farmers with a community-based packaging project. The deal, which will market Zambia-produced peanut butter to South African buyers, showcases the range of services offered by the USAID TradeHub and how these services spur commerce in the region. Recognizing the potential of high-quality Zambian agricultural commodities like honey, groundnuts, soya, and maize, the USAID TradeHub worked with COMACO, also known as Community Markets for Conservation, to send samples of its products to several South African buyers. U-Can-Grow, which runs a work-based learning program in Ekurhuleni, a city east of Johannesburg, tested COMACO’s “It’s Wild” brand of peanut butter with local consumers. Taste tests showed that the product would do well but that environmentally conscious consumers would likely favor glass packaging over COMACO’s standard plastic. To address this market constraint, USAID TradeHub partner U-Can-Grow agreed to mobilize one of its community-based projects to package the peanut butter in glass, which COMACO will ship to the South African organization wholesale. U-Can-Grow also agreed to further test uptake of the bottled product in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and the Western Cape city of Paarl. The July 20, 2020 arrangement, which the USAID TradeHub is working to formalize through a distribution agreement between the parties, comes just one month after the program facilitated the first shipment of COMACO samples to South Africa. Facilitating this pilot program forms part of the USAID TradeHub’s objective to increase exports from the region into South Africa.

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