On February 3, 2016, the efforts of USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub to establish Agricultural Storage Investment Facilities (ASIF) in Malawi resulted in the inception of an Inter-Ministerial Committee to improve coordination among the various Malawian government agencies responsible for authorizing investments in agricultural storage.
Through a Strategic Partnership Grant, USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub worked with Vetlab to help create the first private ISO17025-accredited grain and oil seed laboratory service, including aflatoxin testing, in Zambia.
The Trade Hub’s Strategic Partnership Grant to Vermeulen/Aandele Trust was closed out at the end of January 2016. During closeout, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub learned that the supply partnerships forged during the grant between Vermeulen/Aandele Trust and other grantees—Valid Nutrition Malawi and Jungle Beat in Zambia—will continue into the foreseeable future.
At the end of January 2016, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub reviewed a technical report assessing aflatoxin management awareness and mitigation strategies implemented by the Trade Hub over the past five years.
At the end of December 2015, the Southern Africa Trade Hub officially presented the Oracle Sustainable Innovation Award 2015 to the Southern Africa Regional Mission in Pretoria, South Africa.
In December 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub closed out its grant to Intertek Laboratories after successful implementation.
During the last week of December 2015, Strategic Partnership Grantee Valid Nutrition prepared to participate in a global tender for the supply of Ready to Use Complementary Food (RUCF) to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). Without the grant through USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, this would not have been possible.
From December 16-19, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub reviewed the draft Malawi Seed Law in Lilongwe to ensure its harmonization with the SADC Model Law. In addition to meeting Lynn Schneider, USAID/Malawi Feed the Future Coordinator, the Senior Legal Advisor also met with Prince Kapondamgaga and Dr. Candida Nakhumwa, the CEO and Deputy CEO respectively of the Malawi Farmers’ Union.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is supporting the creation of a Market Information System (MIS) that will provide transparent market prices and comprehensive information to support the agriculture sector in Mozambique.
On December 15, 2015, the Hon. Given Lubinda, Zambia’s Minister of Agriculture, commissioned the launch of services by the Zambian Agricultural Commodities Exchange (ZAMACE).
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.
The Agricultural Storage Investment Facility (ASIF) strategy of USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub came a significant step closer to fruition during the week of December 7, 2015, with the final project appraisal in Malawi by the European Investment Bank (EIB) for a warehouse investment credit line to agribusiness through a prominent Malawian bank.
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.
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.
Groundnuts have been identified as a key diversification cash crop for smallholder farmers in Malawi, but farmers have trouble increasing production due to limited access to quality seed, as well as poor growing and post-harvest practices that damage crop quality and in turn limit access to markets.
Quality and safety services company Intertek recently established an Agricultural Testing Laboratory in Beira, Mozambique for chemical and microbiological testing. The grant from USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is enabling Intertek to upgrade the laboratory with aflatoxin and wet chemistry testing services, which will give commercial traders the opportunity to have analysis done in-country at faster and more economical rates.
Through a Strategic Partnership Grant, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub has partnered with the Export Trading Group (ETG) to help ETG establish a Warehouse Receipts System (WRS) on four selected warehouse sites in Mozambique. WRS enables farmers and medium-sized traders to store their grains securely, use the stored grain to leverage credit, and sell their crops later in the season when prices are generally higher.
Due to domestic market issues, groundnut production in South Africa has declined significantly in the last ten years. With its ideal climate and traditional knowledge of groundnuts, Zambia could make up South Africa’s shortfall all on its own. But due to high levels of aflatoxin contamination, many markets have been closed to Zambian groundnuts and the hundreds of thousands of households that grow them.
Through a Strategic Partnership grant from USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub with CASS and Agseeds Mozambique, a seed cleaning and conditioning plant is being installed to enable onsite seed multiplication. The seed produced will be marketed by agricultural development programs, private sector outgrowers, and through direct sales. CASS and its partners are providing market development, farmer training and technology support.
As part of a Strategic Partnership Grant with USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, Cargill has partnered with Empresa de Comercialização Agrícola Ltd (ECA) in Mozambique to create market linkages for smallholder farmers living in rural Africa.Farmers in Mozambique, particularly smallholders, have limited access to markets and face many barriers to improving their incomes and livelihoods, due to infrastructural constraints and a history of conflict.
Research into improved seed varieties, especially drought-tolerant ones, is vital for improving food security in southern Africa. Through a Strategic Partnership Grant from USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, Capstone, an independent South African seed company, entered into a joint venture with Peacock Enterprises Ltd of Malawi to multiply and market "CAP9001."
Through the grant, Ammtech established a 250kg per hour peanut butter processing plant at the COMACO premises in Chipata in the Eastern Province of Zambia. The plant improved the availability of fortified foods in the region and increased demand for raw groundnuts to feed the plant, guaranteeing a stable market for smallholder groundnut farmers.
Lack of grain storage infrastructure in Zambia has restricted the ability of small scale farmers in remote areas to market their maize, soy, and other crops at competitive prices. The Strategic Partnership Grant from USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub to AFGRI facilitated the construction of a satellite storage/buying facility in Petauke to provide market access to smallholder farmers.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub awarded a US$65,000 grant to Intertek SA to establish a facility to test for aflatoxin and other mycotoxins in Beira, Mozambique. Intertek provided the balance required to establish a state-of-the art laboratory testing facility in Mozambique, which is now open for business.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is conducting gender training for Ammtech/COMACO, a strategic partnership grantee based in Chipata, Zambia to identify gender patterns, power dynamics, gender roles, rights, and opportunities related to COMACO beneficiaries (farmers) in the Nzamane, Mpenzeni, and Mbangombe cooperatives.
From November 22 to December 16, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is conducting gender research and training for Ammtech/COMACO, a strategic partnership grantee based in Chipata, Zambia to support the Trade Hub’s goal of integrating gender into the policies and procedures of grantee organizations.
During the week of November 23, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub began an impact assessment of the project’s interventions in the regional groundnut value chain. The Trade Hub has implemented various strategic activities in Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia to combat aflatoxin, improve the safety of groundnuts and groundnut products for domestic consumption, and increase the competitiveness of groundnuts in export markets.
On November 19, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub organized a year-end stakeholder meeting on the Warehouse Receipts System (WRS) at the USAID Mission in Maputo, Mozambique facilitated by the Banco Oportunidad de Mozambique (BOM) and hosted in conjunction with Amanda Fong and John Irons of USAID/Mozambique.
In preparation for the Warehouse Receipts System (WRS) stakeholder meeting organized by USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub and hosted by the USAID/Mozambique Mission on November 19, 2015, Trade Hub Chief of Party Greg Maassen held discussions with leading partners and service providers including AppSolve, Cargill, and CLUSA in Maputo.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is supporting Malawi’s efforts to devise a Seed Bill that is fully aligned with regional harmonization processes and provides clarity for industry on key issues affecting registration, certification, and labeling protocols.
In November 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub closed out its strategic partnership grant (SPG) to non-profit organization Solidaridad, having achieved its goal of directly benefiting thousands of farmer families in the low-income rural areas of Mozambique’s Manica province.
In November 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub completed a set of officially branded Feed the Future (FTF) project videos. Feed the Future is the US Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative.
On November 4, 2015, the USAID Southern Africa Mission visited strategic partnership grantees PMD packaging/Valid Nutrition and MH Boerdery/NASFAM in Lilongwe, Malawi. Paul Pleva and William Benjamin were joined by Cullen Hughes and Carol Jenkins from USAID Malawi.
During the week of November 9-13, 2015, Strategic Partnership Grantee Vermeulen Andele Trust received the first shipment of in-shell groundnuts at its warehouse in Lilongwe, Malawi. With the new equipment procured through a strategic partnership grant from USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, Vermeulen has started cleaning the groundnuts. Vermeulen has already sourced hundreds of tons of groundnuts, which will be exported to South Africa after cleaning and sorting.
On November 10, 2015, Strategic Partnership Grant partner Empresa de Comercialização Agrícola (ECA) began to distribute agricultural inputs, including seeds and fertilizer, in and around Catandica in central Mozambique. ECA’s outreach program for maize production is expected to extend to more than 3,000 contracted farmers this season.
On October 28, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub presented a training workshop on the Warehouse Receipts System (WRS) to the executive management of IKURU and the Associação Moçambicana para Promoção do Cooperativismo Moderno (AMPCM) in Nampula, Mozambique.
During the week of October 19, 2015, Janet MacLaughlin, Senior Advisor for Economic Growth, and Benita Gunn, Global Issues and Initiative Coordinator, from the Department of State’s Office of Foreign Assistance, traveled from Washington DC to join USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub in field visits to Trade Hub program beneficiaries.
During the week of September 28, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub conducted a site visit to Strategic Partnership grantee Lumuno Farms, a chili sauce producer and demonstration organic farm located near Lusaka, Zambia.
From October 20-23, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub hosted Janet MacLaughlin, Senior Advisor for Economic Growth: Office of Policy Analysis, and Benita Gunn, Global Issues and Initiative Coordinator, from the Department of State’s Office of Foreign Assistance (OFA). The OFA representatives traveled from Washington, DC to Pretoria, South Africa to visit the region and attended an introductory presentation at the USAID Southern Africa Mission delivered by the Trade Hub.
ATI and USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub hosted a workshop in Blantyre on September 17, 2015 that attracted 40 representatives from the banking and finance sector of Malawi. The Trade Hub has been working to bring together Africa Trade Insurance Agency (ATI), the Agricultural Commodity Exchange of Malawi (ACE), and Malawi banks to make more finance available for farmers and traders who store their grains in ACE-accredited warehouses.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub has a Strategic Partnership grant with Lumuno Farms, a chili sauce producer and demonstration organic farm located near Lusaka, Zambia. In response to the farm’s increased productivity made possible by the Trade Hub grant, Lumuno is exploring regional markets and receiving major interest in its products.
Thanks to a Strategic Partnership Grant from USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub (see September 25 Weekly Report), a new HPCL aflatoxin testing machine has now been commissioned at Intertek’s Beira agricultural laboratory, and imported foodstuffs and agricultural samples from World Food Program and World Vision are already being tested for mycotoxins.
During the week of September 14-18, 2015, USAID’s Southern Trade Hub visited with Strategic Partnership Grantees throughout Mozambique to coordinate grant program implementation.
From 2014 to June 2015, the Trade Hub supported Strategic Partnership Grantee Ybema Grain Services to expand its grain handling services throughout the Southern Africa region as the company provided multiple training sessions to various agricultural organizations.
COMACO (Community Markets for Conservation) in Chipata, Zambia has increased output of its peanut butter product by threefold since the addition of new threshing, drying, and bottling equipment procured through a Strategic Partnership Grant from USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub.
On September 29, 2015, Umlimi Lokhonile Seeds (which means “the farmer is able”) from Swaziland launched MRI514, a hybrid maize seed from Syngenta MRI in Zambia, making Swaziland the first country to demonstrate practical implementation of the SADC harmonized seed system. Under the system, once a seed variety is approved in two SADC countries, it can be released in all SADC countries without extensive trials and paperwork, making investment in seed development more attractive and profitable.
Through a grant from USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub, Intertek Laboratories commissioned a new high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) (high performance liquid chromatography) aflatoxin testing machine at its Beira agricultural laboratory on September 22, 2015. It is believed that it will reduce the testing cost from US$120 per test (in South Africa) to about US$16 per test in Beira.
On September 16, 2015, the first ever electronic warehouse receipt was issued to a farmer in exchange for 50 tons of maize at Grain Silo Services (GSS) in Lusaka.
The Zambian Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE) requested Trade Hub support for the development of a Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) after witnessing the success of the Trade Hub-supported Warehouse Receipt Systems in Malawi and Mozambique in providing farmers with access to cheaper finance, higher prices, and safe storage for their crops.
Following a series of aflatoxin trainings in Nampula, Mozambique, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub made a follow-up visit from September 6-13, 2015 to assess the success of the techniques trained and the possibility of scaling up. Eleven training forums were visited, which had trained 152 farmers, of which 107 were women.
On September 15, 2015, Intertek Laboratories demonstrated the “Blue Box” technology at the USAID Southern Africa mission in Pretoria, South Africa. The Blue Box is an affordable precision tool kit composed of sampling and testing instruments that provides on the spot quality control to monitor crop or grain condition. It can be used both in the field and in storage facilities at any stage in the value chain.
During a field visit to Zambia from August 23-29, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub established that Strategic Partnership Grantee Jungle Beat has made additional investments of more than US$200,000 to procure equipment out of South Africa and further grow its business in the country. Jungle Beat has also secured export orders for 400 metric tons with companies in South Africa valued at approximately US$300,000.
On August 12, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub sponsored a workshop introducing Zambian millers, agrifood processors, storage operators and commercial farmers to Blue Box technology to help control aflatoxin contamination in storage facilities.
On 25 August 2015, the SA Trade Hub grants team visited VetLabs in Lusaka, Zambia, who through a strategic partnership with Deltamune of South Africa, is in the process of establishing the first private ISO 17025 accredited testing facilities in Zambia. This project was initiated in September 2014 through a strategic partnership grant (SPG).
The SA Trade Hub and partner INVC are assisting NASFAM and CADECOM to train farmer leaders in aflatoxin management and mitigation in Malawi. These efforts are aimed at improving the standard and quality of groundnuts for the NASFAM, Afrinut, and Valid Nutrition supply chains.
The SA Trade Hub Communications Team is in the process of developing and producing a number of video products designed to capture the USAID program’s five years of diverse, market-oriented activities and influence.
From August 7-11, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub trained warehouse managers from ETG on the basic concepts of the Warehouse Receipts System (WRS) and demonstrated a live connectivity session to prepare Northern Mozambique for WRS, which was launched in Mozambique in May 2015.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is currently developing an Agricultural Storage Investment Facilities (ASIF) in Malawi with subsequent replication into Zambia. After a stakeholder consultation in 2013 revealed a severe shortage of agri-warehousing in Malawi, the Trade Hub worked to convene relevant organizations to facilitate financing and investment into warehousing and to address investment bottlenecks.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, in conjunction with two of its Strategic Partnership Grantees, organized two trainings during the week of August 10, 2015 in Malawi on the Safe Use of Pesticides for smallholder farmers and warehouse staff.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub conducted a Gender Animation and Mobilization Training in Catandica, Mozambique from August 5-7, 2015. The workshop was a follow-up to previous gender equality integration efforts by the Trade Hub in the agricultural value chains and was attended by representatives of farmer groups and community-based organizations.
In coordination with Southern African Grain Laboratories (SAGL), USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub sponsored an intensive ten-day training and certification course ending on July 31, 2015 for selected technicians from Malawi and Zambia.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is working in coordination with the USAID/Malawi INVC (Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains) program to raise awareness, improve standards, and bring quality to the Malawian groundnut supply chain. From July 13-22, 2015, three training workshops in Malawi sensitized farmers to the health and economic effects of aflatoxin contamination and demonstrated methods to decrease contamination at both the pre-and post-harvest stages.
From July 22-25, 2015 the Southern Africa Trade Hub conducted a Gender Animation and Mobilization Training Workshop for a large number of farmers and producers involved in the soy and groundnut value chains in Chimoio, the capital of Manica Province, Mozambique.
With the first “live” issuing and financing of a warehouse receipt (WR) on 28 May the software system – AfricaTradeApp – went from a demo environment to a live production environment in Mozambique. Although currently running two systems requires additional effort and cost, it is ideal for a continuous training and marketing environment.
Based on the results of agricultural laboratory assessment surveys conducted in April and May 2015 in Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique by the SAGL (Southern African Grain Laboratories) at the behest of the SA Trade Hub, four lab technicians from the region were selected to attend a specialized training course in South Africa.
The Zambia Seed Trade Association (ZASTA), along with various members of the seed industry and the SA Trade Hub, gathered in Lusaka to review and consolidate the ongoing national partnership to enhance implementation of the SADC Seed Harmonization Protocol.
As part of its ongoing Aflatoxin mitigation initiatives, the SA Trade Hub recently held a training on the “Safe Disposal of Contaminated (Aflatoxin) Groundnuts,” in the premises of Afri-Nut, a partner food processor in Lilongwe, Malawi.
Specialists from the SA Trade Hub, in conjunction with local partner INVC, trained over 200 farmers in Aflatoxin management in the Dedza District of Malawi. The field-based training targeted farmer leaders who will now be able to serve as farmer trainers in best practices in Aflatoxin mitigation and management for the roughly 10,000 smallholder farmers in Dedza.
The SA Trade Hub Communications Team is in the process of developing and producing a number of video products designed to capture the USAID program’s five years of diverse, market-oriented activities and influence.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is assisting the Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) in Zambia to develop a new data management system which will enable seed companies to register seed growers online and receive their licenses by email from SCCI, improving the speed of registration and application. The system has been finalized and is being reviewed by the Trade Hub in preparation for its launch in August 2015.
Through a strategic partnership grant leveraging the technology and expertise of South African company Ammtech, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is supporting the upgrade of COMACO’s peanut butter processing plant in Zambia. Over the past few weeks, Ammtech has been on location with COMACO to install and commission new equipment, transferring the skills needed to maintain and operate the improved technology.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub has been working to launch a Warehouse Receipts System (WRS) in Zambia. The Warehouse Receipts System will enable farmers to access finance by depositing their crop in a certified warehouse and receiving a receipt.
Since 2013, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub has been promoting a strategy to support investments into regional agricultural warehousing through an Agricultural Storage Investment Facility (ASIF) with initial focus in Malawi and subsequently Zambia. ASIF is designed to provide broad-based access to storage, finance, and markets that will directly benefit smallholder farmers in these Feed-the-Future countries.
At a recent workshop on Aflatoxin Management in Mozambique, the USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub became a member of the thematic group created to sensitize farmers, consumers and key stakeholders in the supply chains for key crops. The other three thematic groups will focus on establishing standards, sampling and testing procedures for Mozambique; control methods and research; and laboratory testing and certification.
USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub partner, Deltamune SA, launched a new brand and logo for the recently upgraded Vetlab laboratory service in Lusaka, Zambia, on June 11, 2015. Detamune SA acquired a majority stake in the Vetlab laboratory service in December 2014.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is providing technical support for the Zambia Agricultural Commodities Exchange (ZAMACE) warehouse receipts system to be launched in time for the 2015 harvest season.
The Trade Hub participated in the Southern Africa Feed the Future (FtF) regional workshop with three presentations as part of the Advancing Intra-Regional Trade and Investment session, chaired by USAID's Deputy Director of the Regional Economic Growth Office, Nancy Whitney.
As part of ongoing work to promote gender integration in the implementation of its Strategic Partnership Grants, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub conducted two gender integration training courses in Malawi: one for NASFAM staff from May 21-22 and the other for groundnut farmers working with NASFAM from May 19-20, 2015.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub demonstrated the AppSolve IT systems software for Warehouse Receipts to ZAMACE (Zambia Agricultural Commodities Exchange) and the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE), which has resulted in Zambia deciding last week to adopt the system. The AppSolve IT system provides an online data collection platform that will enable ZAMACE to issue warehouse receipts electronically in time for the next farming season. The Trade Hub demonstrated the system to ZAMACE in a live connectivity extension training in Mozambique.
USAID’s Southern Africa Regional Economic Growth Office paid a visit to Southern Africa Trade Hub Strategic Partnership Grantees in Lilongwe, Malawi and Chipata, Zambia from May 17-22 to monitor grant progress, compliance, and deliverables. Environmental Compliance Officer Judith Mlanda Zvikaramba and Senior Agricultural Development Specialist Patricia Rwasoka-Masanganise visited four sites in the region, while Feed the Future Coordinator Lynn Schneider from USAID Malawi joined for one of the site visits (to Valid Nutrition) as well.
Last week USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub visited four Strategic Partnership Grant (SPG) activity sites in Zambia including VetLabs, Lumuno Organic Farms, COMACO, and NWK to perform due diligence on grant implementation and benchmark successes to date. The grants are leveraging the skills, knowledge, and technology of South African companies to address agricultural issues in Feed the Future countries related to laboratory testing, groundnut processing, crop diversification and increased soil fertility, and decreasing malnutrition.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub attended an awareness-raising workshop convened by the Zambia Seed Trade Association (ZASTA) to inform key personnel in seed companies of the harmonized seed regulations and measures in the SADC Region and to encourage participants to implement the regulations. The workshop was designed to simplify the information available in order to increase participation and regional seed release registration on the SADC Seed Center Catalogue, which is being supported by the Trade Hub.
In coordination with INVC and Universal Industries, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub held two one-day workshops in Blantyre and Lilongwe to showcase “Blue Box” technology as a way of controlling aflatoxin levels in stored groundnuts and other cereals. The Blue Box is a precision tool kit, composed of sampling and testing instruments as well as chemicals, that provides on the spot quality control to monitor crop or grain condition. It can be used both in the field and in storage facilities at any level and comes with full service backup and training.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub visited four Strategic Partnership Grant activity sites in Malawi last week to benchmark the status of grant implementation, address potential hurdles, and highlight successes realized thus far. The grants are leveraging the skills, knowledge, and technology of South African partners to address agricultural issues in Malawi related to aflatoxin and groundnut processing, crop resiliency, malnutrition decrease, and post-harvest loss.
Last week the USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub grants team visited four Strategic Partnership Grant (SPG) activity sites in Mozambique, including Intertek, Cargill, ETG, and Solidaridad.
USAID Southern Africa Director of the Regional Economic Growth Office, Mark Wilt and Bill Benjamin, USAID’s Feed the Future Coordinator and Agriculture Team Leader toured the Cargill facility in Catandica, Mozambique, which is being upgraded through a Strategic Partnership Grant.
As part of the Southern Africa Trade Hub’s Strategic Partnership Grant to restore soil composition and fertility and livelihood enhancement through crop rotation in Manica Province, Mozambique, the Trade Hub hosted a four-day Gender Training Workshop for farmers engaged in grant implementation. The training took place in Chimoio, Mozambique May 4-7 and was attended by leader farmers and seed multipliers coming from four districts in Manica Province.
The Southern Africa Trade Hub is providing support for the integration of gender specific interventions into the HM Boerdery Strategic Partnership Grant in Malawi. The first phase was a gender analysis that took place took place April 24-30. On April 24 the Trade Hub attended a marketing field day organized by the Agricultural Commodity Exchange (ACE) for Africa and held at the NASFAM (National Association of Smallholder Farmers) offices in Lilongwe South. The event highlighted the agricultural marketing approaches that ACE uses and the benefits that farmers can derive from them.
Working closely with local stakeholders in Mozambique, the Southern Africa Trade Hub launched the first phase of field extension training on the Warehouse Receipts System in Chimoio. Warehouse managers from Strategic Partnership Grantees ETG and Cargill, financiers from local banks Banco Oportunidade de Mozambique (BOM) and Banco Tierra, and local extension agents participated in the training on the IT system, which was held at Cargill’s warehouse facility.
The Southern Africa Trade Hub, in conjunction with its bilateral USAID partner project INVC (Integrating Nutrition in Value Chains), hosted a pair of two-day training workshops in Malawi for over 100 participants drawn from processors, traders, farmers unions, and farmer leaders on aflatoxin management and removal in groundnuts for trade and processing.
The Southern Africa Trade Hub, through its Strategic Partnership grantee Solidaridad, sponsored a training session in Chimoio, Mozambique from April 23-24 for field extension workers on gender integration in the soy and groundnut value chains. The grant is designed to restore soil composition and fertility and livelihood enhancement through crop rotation. Participants took part in the training from multiple organizations, including the private sector (OLAM), the public sector, and NGOs Solidaridad and the Farmers’ Association.
The Trade Hub is providing support for the integration of gender specific interventions into the HM Boerdery Strategic Partnership Grant, which focuses on groundnut value chain development in Malawi. It is estimated that 7,000 smallholder groundnut producers in Malawi (60% of whom are women) will benefit from the grant, which is creating farmer trainers to disseminate knowledge on aflatoxin control. As part of the grant, the groundnut sorting and grading facilities of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) will be upgraded, enabling small-scale groundnut farmers to achieve higher prices for their product.
From April 17-19, the Agritech Expo in Chisamba, Zambia promoted technology and skills transfer to the regional farming community of Southern Africa. Over 10,000 small, emergent, and commercial farmers as well as members of the public attended the Expo—a 20% increase over last year’s numbers—to investigate new products, technologies, processing methods, and applications in the agriculture sector. Zambia’s Vice President Inonge Mutukwa Wina officially opened the 2015 event, stating that the Agritech Expo is a magnificent innovation exposing farmers to practical solutions.
The USAID Southern Africa Trade Hub assessed the seed industry in Mozambique during the week of April 13-17, 2015, interviewing seed industry stakeholders on the national seed regulatory environment and progress on domestication of the SADC Harmonised Seed Regulations System (HSRS). Meetings were held with both public sector and private sector representatives, including the nascent Mozambique Seed Industry Association and the Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership, which was jointly established by USAID and the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).