Potatoes are a popular food in Zambia, but because local subsistence farmers face barriers to growing, storing and transporting their harvests, most potatoes consumed are imported, depriving local farmers of a key source of income. In addition to the impact of pests, disease and severe weather conditions, harvests often spoil when they are improperly stored, and businesses seeking to invest in agriculture value chains often struggle to obtain loans.
Solution and Impact
A U.S. partnership with a local financial institution enabled the Zambian business Buya Bamba to access financing to build two cold storage facilities in Mkushi and Kaloma, with a total capacity of 50,000 tons of potatoes. Potato crops that were once lost due to improper storage can now be preserved for sale throughout the year, at prices that are about 20 percent higher than potatoes sold at harvest.
Buya Bamba has been able to create sustainable, year-round income for local farmers, while providing local competition for potato imports. Following its initial success, Buya Bamba obtained an additional loan through the same partnership, which it used to purchase pre-packing equipment to provide consume-sized packages of potatoes that it can sell at a higher margin.