Sylva Holdings Limited, a Zambian food marketing and export firm, has managed to gain access into the US market.
The company has sealed a deal to supply thousands of tonnes of food items to the US on a monthly basis.
Sylva Holdings’ managing director, Sylva Banda, told How we made it in Africa that the firm would supply dried fruits and vegetables, soup, cassava muffin mix, as well as canned goat meat and chicken into the American market.
Before exporting can start, Sylva Holdings must, however, first wait for the arrival of its packaging machine. “We have huge orders . . . to supply Zambian soup and fruits and vegetables every month to the US market, but the delivery has not yet started because we are still waiting for the equipment to arrive,” she said.
A number of rural farmers, especially women, will benefit from the export arrangement as they supply vegetables to Sylva Holdings.
Banda is also training the farmers to improve the quality of their produce. She explained that the training is meant to sensitise the farmers in the rural areas on how to process their raw vegetables and fruits to meet the requirements of the export market.
“Most of the vegetables and fruits we export, we get them from the farmers in the rural areas so it is very critical for us to ensure that the farmers know how to handle the vegetables as well as put in place proper hygiene methods,” she noted.
Banda said that overall exports from Zambia to the US are expected to increase as a result of the various deals that have recently been signed between Zambian companies and US organisations.