Improving Livelihoods through Horticultural Research and Development
This project assists farmers in local communities to produce and deliver quality fresh produce to hotels in the Livingstone area. The implementing partners in this project are USAID, and USA Rutgers, University and Purdue University.
Livingstone in Southern Zambia is a very important tourist destination as the Victoria Falls draws many tourists to the area. During the 1990’s Sun International initiated negotiations with the Zambian government to build the Group’s two hotels, the Royal Livingstone and the Zambezi Sun, both situated close to the falls. One of the stipulations from the Zambian government for this process was that 10% of the initial investment should go towards supporting local communities.
Sun International established a trust fund in order to implement this requirement and when the hotels were completed, Sun International called a meeting with local farmers in the Livingstone area to establish a fresh produce supply arrangement from local community farms. This was concluded but it soon became clear that the farmers required assistance with producing the quality of fresh produce required by the hotels. This was the initiative for Sun International to sign a Memorandum of Undertaking with Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products (this was the predecessor of AgriSmart Zambia) in 2002 to partner with the community farmers to assist them with quality, increasing productions and other market access challenges.
The MOU was signed and the relationship continued and provided this service to the community farms. The original community projects which were part of this arrangement were Maramba, Nsongwe, Mapenzi, Linda, Kazuni, Mambova and Lubasi.
In 2016 AgriSmart Zambia took over this function from Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products and indications are that the project is operating more effectively now with good future prospects. In the meantime, Sun International sold the Royal Livingstone and the Zambezi Sun to the Minor Group of Hotels and these hotels are now managed by the Group’s AVANI Hotels & Resorts division. AgriSmart Zambia has recently approached the new management to formally re-establish the community fresh produce supply and this is expected to realise during 2018.