Food waste in Zambia has been cited as the number one cause of business losses among small-scale horticulture farmers. This is mainly due to them not knowing or having the resources needed to preserve their horticultural produce for a longer shelf life. Also, there are very few stakeholders investing in value-added equipment to preserve horticulture produce in the country. The above factors have resulted in 30% of farmers abandoning the horticulture value chains.
To avert this, food drying has been adopted as one of the main post-harvest approaches to preserve the quality of agricultural products. In Zambia, small-scale farmers mostly use open-air sun drying while industries use mechanized dryers. However, sun drying is time-consuming and less hygienic, which has led to a substantial increase in the use of gas/electricity in the last few years.
The solar dryer invented by Sylva Food has empowered many small-scale farmers who previously suffered losses due to food waste. The innovator also buys farmers’ processed products and uses the inputs in their agro-processing business.
In respect of creating a sustainable profitable market for traditional Zambian foods, Sylva Foods now offers low cost but highly nutritious products to satisfy both low-income and high-income populations. Their products are indigenous and organic without artificial additives; the current portfolio includes moringa soup, moringa cereal, moringa teabags, assorted dried local vegetables and fruits, and canned, free-range chicken and goat meat.
Sylvia Banda’s tested leadership in the food business (Zambian Business Times)
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