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.
The new technology will enable COMACO to produce up to 60 tons per week of their peanut butter product, a major improvement from their standard production rate of 13 tons per week.This increased production will allow COMACO to increase their domestic supply of peanut butter to existing clients including major grocery chains such as Shoprite, Spar, and Pick n Pay as well as local traders. Further, these improvements have enabled COMACO to begin establishing agreements with buyers from other SADC countries to export the peanut butter product regionally.
In addition to the benefits of increased regional trade, this strategic partnership improves farmer livelihoods by increasing demand for quality groundnuts. COMACO purchases approximately 2,000 metric tons of groundnuts annually from their network of 45,000 groundnut farmers in Zambia. With the increased production capacity and demand, COMACO will require additional inputs; they plan to at least double their purchasing from local groundnut farmers.
Photo: COMACO worker taking product to the packaging line.