Zambia: Seven companies cashing in on agribusiness opportunities

From chillies to goat meat, here is a selection of seven companies capitalising on the opportunities in Zambia’s agribusiness and food industry.

1. Exporting chillies and superfoods: Company taps into growing market

Chillies are grown by Amatheon Agri and in partnership with surrounding smallholder farmers.

Germany-based agribusiness company Amatheon Agri is ramping up its production of spices and superfoods in Africa as global demand for these products continues to increase. The company’s Zambian unit recently inaugurated new processing factories for spices and superfoods at its farm in the Mumbwa District. At the facility, chilli and superfoods cultivated on Amatheon’s land and by surrounding smallholder farmers will be cleaned, processed and packed for the export market. Amatheon’s chilli processing facility will allow for products to be whole-dried, flaked or milled and exported to off-takers across the world. Read the full article.

2. FirstWave Group: A vertically integrated fish farming business

FirstWave Group operates its own retail stores under the Yalelo brand.

FirstWave Group is a vertically integrated fish farming business with production operations in Zambia and Uganda. “We are one of the few fully vertically integrated players in this space on the continent; when people talk about vertical integration in this industry, they often talk about fish production and all of the downstream activity, such as distribution and retail. However, we are engaged in the production of fish feed all the way through to retailing fresh fish delivered daily to urban centres throughout East and Southern Africa,” explains co-CEO Tembwe Mutungu. Read the full article.

3. Zambian entrepreneur’s agro-processing bet pays off

Dorothy Eriksson

Chankwakwa founder Dorothy Eriksson

Dorothy Eriksson and her husband Rolf, who is originally from Sweden, ran a successful commercial farm, Chankwakwa, in Kabwe, Zambia, from the 1970s through to the 1990s. But towards the end of the ‘90s, the economy faced severe challenges and the family struggled to keep the farm. One day, Eriksson visited the local fresh produce market. Many of the mangoes that vendors were trying to sell were about to go rotten as the supply far outstripped demand. She realised there was an opportunity to process the fruit into different value-added products. The dream for Chankwakwa’s agro-processing factory was born and today, the company exports dried mango to Europe and supplies jams, sauces, dried fruits, honey and soya products to various supermarket chains throughout Zambia, including Shoprite and Pick n Pay. Read the full article.

4. Commercialising goat meat in Zambia: The story of Zamgoat

Paul Nyambe, founder of Zamgoat

In Zambia, goats are the second most popular type of livestock owned and reared by smallholder farmers. The animals are hardy and able to live off a wide range of available grasses and plants. Despite the prevalence of goat-keeping, packaged goat meat was not typically found on shelves of supermarkets; it was largely sold informally. For Paul Nyambe, this was a glaring gap in the market. Read the full article.

5. Zambian tech startup building products for farming sector

With the AgriPredict app, a farmer takes a picture of the suspected diseased plant, and the system will give a diagnosis, options for treatment if required, and location of the nearest agro-dealer.

AgriPredict is a platform that helps farmers access a variety of information either via a smartphone app or a USSD code-based service. The platform’s first feature enabled users to diagnose crop diseases by taking photos of diseased plants with their smartphone and comparing images to a database of thousands of other images of crops. It later added features such as weather reports and an early warning system for external threats such as pests. In October last year, the company began to roll out a marketplace for buyers and sellers and it will soon be giving farmers access to agricultural guides and resources. Read the full article.

6. Zambian company spots opportunity for locally-made spices and pastes

Sage Valley pastes

Sage Valley is a Zambian company which produces spices and pastes from locally sourced ingredients. The business was started in 2019. “With the local spice market flooded by foreign products, we have taken the opportunity to fill this gap by producing international-standard locally-made products. It has given us the opportunity to support the agricultural sector by adding value and creating diversification for farmers to grow different herbs and spices apart from the normally grown crops,” notes co-founder Zita Kafwimbi. Read the full article.

7. Growing a Zambian meat processing business into a nationwide distributor

Packaged chicken portions produced by Kachema Meat.

When cows are slaughtered for beef, their offspring are often sold by local farmers who do not wish to spend money rearing the young calves. Arie de Kwaasteniet started ranching over two decades ago by buying some of these orphaned calves. Rearing the animals on his farm on the outskirts of Lusaka, Zambia’s capital city, the entrepreneur soon had more calves than expected as growing numbers of farmers turned to him with infant cows. In 1999, the buildup of livestock rolled over into a business venture as De Kwaasteniet started supplying meat and milk to local butchers and retail shops. Read the full article.