The Trade Hub’s agricultural activities are driven by USAID’s Feed the Future Strategy and focus on intra-regional trade in targeted value chains: maize, soybeans and groundnuts. Primary support is directed to the Feed the Future focal countries within the region (Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia) with special emphasis on encouraging investment and technology transfer from South African organizations in line with USAID’s Strategic Partnership with South Africa. The Trade Hub supports initiatives that improve trade in targeted agricultural commodities and improve food security.
As part of the impact assessment being conducted by USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub on aflatoxin management strategies that have been implemented in the past five years, four focus group interviews were carried out in Nampula province in Mozambique from December 7-8, 2015.
Small scale vegetable-producing farmers in Zambia lack access to sustainable and reliable markets for their produce. Lumuno Organic Farms is a fast-growing producer of chili sauce based in the Chongwe District in Zambia. Through the Strategic Partnership Grant from USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, Zhauns (Pty) Ltd is providing the necessary technology, equipment, and training for Lumono to upgrade its processing capacity and develop its product for export.
Up to twenty percent of grain that goes into storage in southern Africa is lost before it can be used, wasting millions of tons of product every year. A significant amount of grain is also never graded, which lowers the overall price of the grain and inhibits export.
The grant is assisting VETLAB to provide the first private ISO17025 accredited grain and oil seed laboratory service, including aflatoxin testing, in Zambia. This will create the first laboratory accredited with these services within SADC outside South Africa. Independent laboratory services are an important link in the regional agricultural value chains, enabling commodities exchanges to sustain reputable standards through which traders and buyers can settle disputes and arbitrate variances.
In Malawi, soy and groundnut crops sold on the domestic market are often of poor quality and do not meet export specifications as a result of poor post-harvest handling. There is a growing demand for soy in the region that is not being realized due to these quality concerns. The grant is enabling the installation of a sorting, grading, and cleaning plant in Malawi to address post-harvest handling challenges.
The grant made the inaugural Agritech Expo in 2014 in Chisamba, Zambia possible and brought together the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) with Spintelligent, a professional events management service provider. Agritech Expo, the largest commercial agricultural show in Southern Africa outside of South Africa, is a business-to-business platform for farmers to converge in one arena, address key issues, discuss past and future projects, and exchange views on agriculture in the region.
Environmental degradation and soil loss is responsible for reducing productivity and yields of staple foods in the Manica province of Mozambique. Solidaridad aims to restore soil fertility in the Guro, Machize, Mossourize, Tambara, and Brue districts in Manica through crop rotation, introducing soy and groundnuts as rotational crops that also have economic value for household and economic use.
Zambia was once a major producer and exporter of groundnuts; however, production has fallen due to continued replanting of self-saved commercial crops (promoting diseases and genetic shift) and the lack of high yielding and marketable varieties.
Within Malawi and the rest of Southern Africa, there is a high demand for Ready to Use Complementary Foods (RUCF): highly-nutritious, portable, and shelf-stable products that can play a major role in improving the nutrition of children and pregnant women in particular.
The Strategic Partnership Grant was awarded to NWK South Africa to stimulate investment into their Zambian subsidiary NWK Agro Services. NWK Agro Services acquired the former Dunavant Cotton Company in 2010, inheriting an outgrower base estimated at over 100,000 contract farmers.