Improving postharvest practices with local market support in Zambia

Project Description

The goal of this project is to further extend economic opportunities to small-scale farmers near Livingstone, Zambia.

Led by James Simon of Rutgers University, this international team seeks to strengthen the value chain for fresh market vegetables with a focus on postharvest handling. Building upon previous successful introduction of locally produced commercial vegetables into southern Zambia's Livingstone region, this project's activities expand local production of fresh vegetables for the tourism and supermarket industries and aim to reduce postharvest losses by 40 percent. As local production displaced more expensive imported vegetables, significant economic opportunities for small-scale farmers are captured.

As the major constraint to scaling up vegetable production in this region is the lack of cold chain systems, this project's team focuses on introducing a cold-chain program to reduce postharvest losses and increase profitability along the value chain, ensuring food security and promoting rural livelihoods with diversified income streams.

Using an innovative, market-first, science-driven approach with a focus on applied postharvest technologies, farmers were trained in good agricultural management practices, postharvest handling, storage systems, and entrepreneurship. The project activities also linked farmers to sustainable markets, through private sector partners such as Sun International Hotels, David Livingstone Hotel, Freshmark/Shoprite and SPAR supermarkets. Innovative technologies including low-cost coolers, quality control in postharvest technology and appropriate cold storage systems at the farm. 

This project builds on a related Immediate Impact Project,

-17.8519791, 25.8285153

Value Chain

Postharvest practices