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.
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.
SA Trade Hub Warehouse Receipt System (WRS) specialists were recently in Chimoio, Mozambique to provide extension training to donor organizations including: CLUSA, TECHNOSERVE, and GAPI on the fundamentals of the Warehouse Receipt System pilot development.
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.
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 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.
On July 7, 2015, Strategic Partnership Grantee Cargill/ECA Mozambique accepted delivery of 2.5 tons of maize at its Catandica warehouse against three warehouse receipts. Since May 2015, when the first ever warehouse receipt was issued online at the Catandica site as a result of support from USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub, word has spread to farmers and traders about the access to safe storage and finance offered by the warehouse receipt system.
From July 8-9, 2015, USAID's Southern Africa Trade Hub held a training and learning workshop with 25 key groundnut supply chain actors in Mozambique to develop a pilot in-shell groundnut trading model that will reduce post-harvest aflatoxin contamination of groundnuts. Presently, over 60% of contamination happens at the farm gate level due to poor post-harvest handling.
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.
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.