InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), has signed an agreement with Savenda Capital committing US$2mn towards the construction of ZAMBIAFresh Lusaka Market in Zambia’s capital
The purpose-built 6,400m² market floor will play host to fresh fruit and vegetables grown by farmers around Lusaka and across the country. With each unit being traceable back to its original producer, and the application of strict food handling and hygiene standards, buyers from small businesses and supermarkets alike are anticipated to source produce at the market – meaning better sales outcomes for smallholder farmers and a boost to the efficiency of Zambia’s horticultural value chain.
“The fresh produce value chain presents a rare opportunity to create a sustainable intersection for scalable institutional support for African small-scale farmers. The uniquely African commission agent system developed for fresh produce trading (and adapted for small-scale supplier base by ZAMBIAFresh) is especially supportive for farmer upliftment and development, while underpinning a more diverse range of high-quality produce for consumers,” said Sean Moolenschot, managing director of Savenda Capital.
The ZAMBIAFresh formal commission-agent market will operate on the basis of clearly defined market rules and use a trading software system that promotes transparency and efficiency for all users. As well as the main market floor, there will also be on-site cold-storage facilities to help maximise produce shelf-life and minimise waste, commercial retail buildings and an aeroponics facility growing leafy vegetables for year-round sale on the market. ZambiaFresh’s formal, commission-agent market will establish transparent market rules and a trading software system for sellers and buyers.
Philippa Viljoen, business development manager at InfraCo Africa added, “InfraCo Africa has an extensive experience in Zambia’s agricultural sector, having been involved with the Chanyanya and Chiansi Irrigation projects in Kafue District over the past 16 years. The ZAMBIAFresh market feels like a natural extension of this commitment as we seek to increase and enhance fair market access for all Zambian smallholders.”
Zambia has an estimated 330,000 smallholder producers of fresh fruit and vegetables, a large proportion of them women. Their ability to sell their produce is hampered by the limited facilities and food storage conditions at existing open-air markets, along with opaque brokerage fees. With Zambia’s demand for fresh produce increasing, current market practices are regarded as an impediment to the sector’s growth. By providing better access to markets and information, ZAMBIAFresh will support efforts to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2 and 5 through improving the incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women.
Expected to begin trading in 2023, ZAMBIAFresh has the potential in the future to more than double in size to become a 20,000m2 facility, trading up to 200,000 metric tons of fresh produce per annum.
It is anticipated that ZAMBIAFresh will also demonstrate the value of formal, commission-agent fresh produce markets, catalysing the replication of such facilities across Zambia and the wider region and attracting private and development finance to the sector.