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Sichone launches Cargill’s Sungani Banja Offering barter scheme in Chipata

Filed under: Business,Latest News |
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Sichone

Cargill on Wednesday, August 26, hosted key policymakers in the agricultural sector at its base in Chipata to launch its Sungani Banja offering; a barter scheme that will offer local farmers the option to exchange their maize for Banja mealie-meal when they use Cargill’s recently launched mini-mill in Chipata.

Present at this event were senior representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, local provincial government officials, Zambia National Farmers Union, World Food Programme, Zambia Development Agency, Industrial Development Corporation, the United States Embassy, USAID and the media.

In addition to farmers continuing to sell their crops to Cargill at current market prices, the Sungani Banja offering provides rural farmers with the opportunity to trade maize for high quality breakfast and roller meal at a Cargill Farm Service Center where farmers deliver their crops. Farmers can opt to deliver either a portion or their whole maize crop in exchange for Banja mealie meal throughout the season. The system works by providing farmers with coupons to the value of their crop, which they can redeem for mealie meal.

Traditionally farmers would store their maize in the villages, typically encountering problems with insufficient facilities and inadequate storage practices. The Sungani Banja offering not only lessens the storage burden on farmers’ excess maize crop, but also provides them with a tool to better plan for the provision of mealie meal for their families throughout the year.

The Cargill mini mill, which has a capacity of 2mt/hour, started operations in March 2015 and produces breakfast and roller maize meal in 25kg, 10kg and 5kg bags under an in-house brand name, Banja. The Sungani Banja offering comes in the wake of government’s appeal for the private sector to get involved in improving food security across the country by providing reliable, affordable and sustainable sources of food for the Zambian populace, especially people in rural areas.

IMG_9681Speaking during the launch of the Cargill maize mini mill, as he issued Banja mealie-meal to a group of farmers, the Provincial Minister for Eastern Province, Honourable Malozo Sichone, said, “As we launch Cargill’s ‘Sungani Banja’ offering today, I wish to express government’s appreciation to Cargill for coming up with this initiative that will benefit many homes in Chipata and beyond. I appeal to other players in the private sector to emulate Cargill and take the lead in championing food security in Zambia and across the region.”

Celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, Cargill took the attending stakeholders on a field visit to Kwenje A service center to provide them with a personalised insight on the dynamics of its outgrower scheme in Zambia. Here it showcased some of its activities including how it works with smallholder farmers to help them manage their businesses and the operations.

“It is commendable for Cargill to have designed this site visit to solidify its collaboration with us stakeholders and highlight our common interest in improving farming practices, increasing incomes and providing better access

to markets for Zambian farmers. Agriculture is presently the largest employer in Zambia, employing around 2,983,384 people. Exploring new farming methods is therefore critical to increase the variety of foods and enable exporting of surplus crops to boost Zambia’s economic growth,” commented the Minister.

Cargill General Manager, Lezanne van Zyl remarked: ”We are committed to partnering with our farmer customers to help them grow their businesses. Our own success depends on this and that is why we have developed a number of offerings that give farmers choices to meet their own needs. Sungani Banja joins our existing suite of products and services, including high quality crop inputs such as seed and fertiliser, as well as the finance and training programmes.”  

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