The Trade Hub’s agricultural activities are driven by USAID’s Feed the Future Strategy and focus on intra-regional trade in targeted value chains: maize, soybeans and groundnuts. Primary support is directed to the Feed the Future focal countries within the region (Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia) with special emphasis on encouraging investment and technology transfer from South African organizations in line with USAID’s Strategic Partnership with South Africa. The Trade Hub supports initiatives that improve trade in targeted agricultural commodities and improve food security.
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.
From October 27-29, 2015, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub finance and investment advisors were in Lusaka to assist the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) to reach out to commercial banks and financiers to better understand the financing opportunities presented by the development of a warehouse receipt system by the Zambia Commodities Exchange (ZAMACE).
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.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub is helping to establish an online management information system at the Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI), the organization responsible for control and certification of the seed industry in Zambia. The new management information system, called “Seed-Lab,” will improve the services available at SCCI and will automate the entire seed inspection and verification process in the country.
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.
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.
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.
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.