Author: Mangiza Chirwa, Hivos
Chongwe, located about 46 kilometres from Lusaka, is one of the largest suppliers of vegetables to Lusaka. Despite this, access to markets is still a major challenge for the smallholder farmers in Chongwe supported by the HFA project.
At the start of the project, some of the challenges identified in accessing markets included lack of business registration for individual farmers and therefore inability to supply supermarkets, inability to supply consistently due to the volume of produce required, lack of knowledge of supplier requirements, production of the same type of vegetable at the same time resulting in oversupply at any one time and therefore low prices. Lack of knowledge on how to produce more lucrative exotic vegetables, poor road infrastructure affecting the transport of vegetables to market, and lack of adequate storage facilities at marketplaces were also identified.
The project provided various capacity building skills on how farmers can overcome these challenges and through this support, youths like Mwansa Mwila have been able to register their businesses (Kobi farms) and develop new skills on how to market his products e.g. improved packaging, advertisement through facebook, new contacts with supermarkets and hotels in Lusaka etc. In 2022 he was able to produce a big field of organic soyabeans which already had market to one of the biscuit producing companies in Lusaka. Though he still faces major transportation challenges especially for tomatoes and vegetables, Mwansa and other members benefiting from the project have now formed the “Healthy Foods Producers Multipurpose Cooperative” where they come together to put together the organic produce for the Lusaka market. Further, they have now received skills on how to farm more exotic vegetables that will increase their incomes.