Zambian Partners, Part II

We’re looking now into finding solid partnerships for the way forward. Instead of starting a new organization from scratch, I hope to build on local teams’ existing resources and experience in the as we launch more full-time in the coming years. On that note, I just heard back from the Sustainability through Agriculture and Micro-Enterprise (SAM) project team based in Livingstone. Here’s what they wrote:

“Our main focus as The SAM Project is a local farming Cooperative.  We work with individual growers in this member-owned business.  Most of the farmers are from Chidabi (out past Sons of Thunder), Katapazi, and Milangu.  We market 13 main vegetables: baby marrow, butternut squash, cantaloupe (sweet melon), carrot, cucumber, eggplant, green bean, green pepper, pumpkin, red pepper, tomato, watermelon, and yellow pepper.  With small-scale producers becoming one team, they are able to penetrate new markets like grocery stores and hotels in Livingstone.  We’ve also been able to sell in Zimbabwe.  The Cooperative has the goal to provide these crops consistently-year round.  As the Cooperative finds better markets, income increases.  Since Lubemba is owned by its members, success in the cooperative means greater profit sharing amongst members at the end of the year.
Last year, the garden project became a member of Lubemba Cooperative.  It’s a unique situation, but we believe the marketing efforts of the Cooperative will be a great benefit to the community project.  We’ve invited the garden to act as a part of our production scheme.  They’ve bought seed with us on a payment plan of 4 main crops.  We’re starting small with the community project on plant numbers, but we have confidence that they will develop into a great asset to Lubemba.  We love the efforts and initiative of Pastor Kebby and Mundia and are excited to have them on the team.  We’ve conducted 2 workshops in Simongo thus far and hope to continue offering them 2x per month.  Yesterday, we held a frost/freeze protection workshop in town with the Cooperative, and Mundia was able to attend.
The idea of preserve making is great.  We’re looking into value-added products for the cooperative, especially to use up Grade B vegetables/fruit that cannot be sold.  Drying is also an option we’re exploring.
Thanks for being willing to partner with us!  It’s great to join agricultural development projects to better a community together.”

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