Zambia PROFIT+ Partnership Increases Red Onion Production, Decreasing Imports
Program Provides Smallholder Farmers Inputs to Boost Yields
Our USAID-funded Production, Finance, and Improved Technology Plus (PROFIT+) project has partnered with Cross Border Network Africa (CBNA) to promote the growing of red onions in Zambia. PROFIT+ is part of President Obama’s Feed the Future initiative to fight global hunger and increase food security. CBNA advocates for trade in the Southern African Development Community.
Thanks to this joint effort, CBNA can now not only supply the country with red onion, it also has a surplus for export. PROFIT+ and CBNA are expanding the scope and sustainability of the red onion production project, which began in July 2015. The program aims to empower smallholder farmers to increase red onion production so to reduce its importation.
Program to Increase Fivefold in Next Phase to Meet Demand
CBNA’s Chairman General Bernard Sikunyongana says his organization expects to reap more than 150,000 tons of red onion from the first harvest of its 1,000 outgrower farmers in Lundazi in eastern Zambia.
“This project is going countrywide. We intend to increase the numbers from 1,000 in the first phase to 5,300 farmers in the next phase so that we can meet the demand for this product,” says Sikunyongana.
From Lundazi, the project has spread to Katete, Chisamba, Kafue, and Chibombo. CBNA provides each smallholder farmer two 50-kilogram bags of urea and compound D fertilizer and two 100-gram tins of red onion seed, and then buys the produce upon harvest.
Program Utilizes PROFIT+-Developed Rural Market Infrastructure
PROFIT+ promotes Community Agro Dealers (CADs), cooperatives, and Producer Companies (PCs) as entry points through which farmers can access quality inputs and outputs through commercial linkages. They are critical elements of the PROFIT+-developed rural market infrastructure designed to attract more investment, finance, and services for smallholder farmers.
CBNA head Sikunyongana comments that “PROFIT+ has supported us a lot. We are able to expand to other areas using already-existing PROFIT+ structures.”
Kelvin Chirwa, a successful CBNA-assisted outgrower farmer, recently led a PROFIT+-supported field day to demonstrate best practices in onion cultivation to other farmers.
Of the field day, Chirwa explains that, “I was able to impart proficiency in growing onion which I learnt from PROFIT+ Community Agro Dealers to other farmers in my area.”