IN AN effort to promote value addition and enhance market access for small-scale farmers, Sylva Professional Catering Services Limited (SPCS) has trained over 15,000 farmers countrywide.
Company proprietor Sylva Banda said farmers need to be trained on how they can benefit from their produce through value addition.
Mrs Banda said in Lusaka recently that most farmers are selling their produce in raw form due to lack of knowledge, and that they need to start adding value to their produce if they are to increase productivity and generate income.
“When you train farmers on how to add value to their produce, the next thing that they do is to increase their yields because they will see the benefit of adding value to their crops. Currently we are working with more than 15,000 farmers in various parts of the country whom we have trained on value addition.
“Most of the farmers we have trained are now supplying to the company with various produce and the only way we could offload the produce was through processing it,” Mrs Banda said.
She said the company has ventured into the production of various foodstuffs such as moringa soup, porridge for school children feeding programmes, and moringa tea which has attracted not only the local market, but also the international buyers.
Mrs Banda said SPCS has been conducting training programmes in all the 10 provinces designed to improve health and nutrition by encouraging the consumption of indigenous vegetables.
Mrs Banda, however, said the promotion of one crop production such as maize has hindered the development of other sub-sectors in agriculture.
STORY BY – KELLY NJOMBO, Zambia Daily Mail.
Sylva Foods Invests $105,000
SYLVA Professional Catering Services Limited (SPC) has invested US$105,000 to set up a food processing plant in the country.
The processing plant to be set up in Lusaka would enable the company process and add value to food stuffs to cater for the local and foreign markets.
Company managing director Sylvia Banda said in an interview in Lusaka that the funds would be used to set up the plant, procure and bring in the equipment in the country.
Of the US$105,000, Ms Banda said US$70,000 was used to procure the machinery, while the rest of the money would be used to bring in the equipment and installation.??The factory was set for commissioning next week.
“Previously we limited ourselves to Zambians in the diaspora, but with the installation of this machinery we think that we will begin to add value to the produce so that it will be consumed by everyone within and outside the country,” Mrs Banda said.
She said the company further wanted to take more of the produce from the more than 15,000 farmers it had trained between 2002 and 2013 with the assistance of the World Bank which provided a K2.3 billion grant.
Ms Banda said that the grant had assisted the company to undertake various training programmes and purchase equipment to process farm produce bought locally.
“We had no intensions of running the factory, but because of the farmers we were training who started supplying the company with various produce and the only way we could offload the produce was through processing it. So we ventured into the production of moringa soup, porridge for school feeding programmes, and moringa tea bags which has attracted the international market,” she said.
Ms Banda said the factory had the capacity to produce 13,000 sachets of soup and 26,000 sachets of tea bags per day.
SPC had been conducting training programmes in all the 10 provinces and had since extended its services to Mozambique and Tanzania in an effort to get more dry products to support the factory.
It was also targeting to train 17,000 farmers between 2014 and 2017 in the country and had so far trained 2,300 farmers.??This was expected to create more than 30,000 jobs between now and 2017.
“So the 15,500 that we have trained already and 17,000 that we will train between now and 2017, we feel that this is the number that will help us run the equipment effectively,” she said.
STORY BY – Judith Namutowe, Zambia Daily Mail.
Sylva Professional Catering Services clinches AGOA deal
SYLVA Professional Catering Services has entered into an agreement with a United States-based firm, Kanzam International, to market Zambian food products to the American market.
The agreement between the two companies was made during the African Growth Opportunities Act (Agoa) forum in Washington DC in America last week.
Sylva Professional Catering Services was one of the Zambian firms that attended the forum.
Speaking in an interview in Lusaka yesterday, Sylva Professional Catering executive chairperson, Hector Banda said Zambian food products were on demand in the US and it was imperative that concrete arrangements for exports were made, hence the agreement between the two companies.
“We have an agreement with Kanzam and the idea is for them to represent us in America so that our products are sent fast.
‘‘Apart from this company, others well over 10 have shown interest to do business with us both in the region and outside,” Mr Banda said.
He said they were exporting to the American market dried food, vegetables and canned Zambian products, among others.
He said the company would increase its food exports to the US market from the current 300 to 500 tonnes, saying he envisaged more development taking place in the next three months.
Mr Banda said the American government should reduce the barriers to export in their market.
Currently, he said there were many impediments for Africans to export in the US market although he was happy that through Agoa, some were being addressed.
He was grateful to the Government for facilitating their attendance at the forum, as well as the Americans for inviting them and paying for their expenses.
Through such incentives, Mr Banda said the Government was promoting the growth of the private sector.
“We thank our Government for promoting the growth of the private sector and putting in place favourable investment opportunities,” Mr Banda said.
[Times of Zambia]