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.
The Trade and Investment Hub (The Hub) is supporting Zambian avocado growers to access regional and international markets for avocados. An essential aspect of market access relates to complying with phytosanitary requirements of the importing country. The Avocado Growers Association of Zambia (AGAZ, 2017) estimates that local farmers are well placed to produce more than 40,000 metric tons of avocados per annum to meet the growing demand in South Africa as well as to supply the regional market.
USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub has been assisting the Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) in Zambia with the establishment of an online management information system. The new system, called “Seed-Lab,” improves the services available at SCCI and will automate the entire seed inspection and verification process in the country.
One of the Trade Hub's most effective initiatives has been the Strategic Partnership Grants program, which used small grants to catalyze business partnerships between South African agribusinesses and agribusinesses in the Feed-the-Future focus countries of Malawi, Zambia, and 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).
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.
From February 4-5, 2016, in Lilongwe, Malawi, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub made a presentation to the Agriculture and Irrigation Committee of Malawi’s National Assembly.
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.
On January 22, 2016, USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub collaborated with the Zambian Agricultural Commodities Exchange (ZAMACE) to host a stakeholder workshop and review a recent report that assessed grading and harmonization standards for grains and oilseeds in Zambia.