The majority of fresh fruit and vegetables in Zambia are grown by small-scale farmers. They are often congested places that lack most food safety measures and cold storage facilities. Farmers’ produce is sold by third parties that work on an opaque commission structure. Farmers are not allowed to enter the markets and therefore don’t know the prices their produce is being sold for; they also don’t have information on how much goes to waste.
Savenda Capital has identified a business opportunity in this inefficient and unfair system and is currently in the process of establishing a modern, purpose-built fresh produce market in Zambia’s capital Lusaka. The 6,400m2 ZAMBIAFresh Lusaka Market will feature cold storage and ripening rooms to reduce losses and ensure produce is fresh when it reaches end consumers. Through transparent market rules and the use of a trading software system, ZAMBIAFresh aims to offer both buyers and sellers fair prices for fresh produce. The market will implement strict food handling and hygiene standards while all produce will be traceable back to its original producer.
To get the venture off the ground, ZAMBIAFresh has secured a US$7.5 million loan from the US International Development Finance Corporation and a $2 million commitment from InfraCo Africa.