LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – Zambeef Products has reiterated the important role that local farmers play in ensuring food security in the country; in particular small-scale farmers who are central to agricultural activities and produce most of the food in the developing world.
However, these farmers face challenges in accessing profitable markets and participating in agricultural value chains.
As one of Zambia’s and the region’s largest food processors and retailers, Zambeef plays a central m role in n addressing these challenges, linking farmers in rural areas with urban consumers across the country.
Zambeef has worked closely with both small- medium- and commercial-scale farmers over the years to ensure the nation’s produce is made readily available, accessible and affordable for consumers across income groups through its vast retail and distribution network; providing a ready market for local cattle, chickens, pigs, maize, soybean and milk, among others.
Corporate Affairs Manager and Head of Retailing, Felix Lupindula, explains: Zambia is one of the most food secure countries in the southern Africa region and is self-sufficient in maize, wheat, and soybean with an emerging livestock sector.
“Zambeef is well placed to provide a link between small-scale farmers and consumers as it is the largest retailing platform of its kind in the country,” said Mr Lupindula.
The company engages farmers on various issues and programmes to encourage increased production and quality of produce as well as contributing towards the creation of vibrant economies in rural areas.
For instance, the Group sources all of the maize for Novatek, its stockfeed division, as well as 30 percent of the soybean it uses from small-scale farmers. Novatek has a combined production of around 280,000 metric tonnes of feed annually from its Lusaka and Mpongwe plants.
Its breeder and hatchery division, Zamhatch, supplies day-old chicks, and is contributing significantly to poverty alleviation with close to 50 percent of its chicks sold to small-scale farmers.
Zambeef is the largest processor of beef in the country, yet it does not rear beef cattle, instead sourcing all its cattle from local livestock producers. The company, in collaboration with the NGO Musika, runs a cattle improvement project in the Northern Province to help small-scale farmers improve productivity by equipping them to compete in the current market where maximised productivity and sustainability go hand-in-hand.
The project offers farmers access to a ready market for cattle, technology, infrastructural development and forward pricing.
Zambeef has assisted in boosting rural economies by helping build infrastructure, such as abattoirs and a milk processing plant in Mongu. These have helped cut farmers losses as a result of lack of storage facilities and transport to market.
“in short, when you buy from Zambeef you know you are supporting local farmers to grow their livelihoods and contribute to the economic prosperity of the nation, “ said Mr Lupindula.