Development of the agricultural sector is Zambia’s hope for economic growth and poverty reduction. The Agri-Hub in this country has recently booked good progress in different agricultural markets, such as the rice and cotton market.
The focus for collaboration in Zambia is on Value Chains (cotton, honey, rice, bio fuels and dairy), improving access to finance, access to market information and capacity building.
For a long time, the rice market was very fragmented and small associations did not manage to negotiate reasonable prices and credits for their farmers. In 2010, three members of the Agri-Hub (ZATAC, Woord en Daad and SNV) contributed to the formation of the Zambian Rice Association, which marks a major change for this sector. One of the association’s tasks is to develop new credit schemes for rice farmers. Activities in the Zambian rice sector increase on a year-to-year basis and form a good crop to nourish thousands of Zambians.
At the Multi Stakeholder Meeting in 2010, the various players in the cotton value chain drew up a joint action plan. Key players CDT (Cotton Development Trust), CAZ (Cotton Association Zambia), and OPPAZ (Organic Producers and Processing Association Zambia) are transparent about their programmes and funding, and have started regular meetings to discuss progress of the various actions and the need for joint lobby. Joint activities, such as preparation of manuals and research, have been intensified since October 2009.
A workshop on ‘Improving access to Finance’ led to a number of outlines for business plans in the above mentioned value chains. At this moment, support is provided to upscale the number of business plans into bankable proposals so that farmer organisations can access credit and invest in their businesses.
Cordaid and SNV signed an MoU for their activities in the Honey sector. The cooperation in the Agri-ProFocus network inspired both organisations to make more formal agreements, so that the impact of the cooperation would be bigger. The honey value chain was selected due to its potential to pull thousands of poor people of in Zambia out of poverty through increased incomes and production.
About 68% of Zambians live below the recognised national poverty level. The Zambian economy has historically been based on the copper mining industry. The Zambian government’s policy for 2004-2015 is to promote the development of an efficient, competitive and sustainable agricultural sector which assures food security and increases income.