MyZambia MyAfrican a Marketing company owned by a Zambian entrepreneur has partnered with Humanity Africa, a charity registered in the UK to train Zambians working in farm communities in Mkushi and Lusaka the art of solar fruit drying.
During a meeting with the Deputy Head of Mission Mrs. Patricia Sikaala Chanda, MyZambia MyAfrica founder Leya Kawamba and her Co-founder Joel O’Loughlin shared their ideas on a project they are calling MyMango MyZambia which involves training local communities to dry and preserve mangoes.
She said that once Zambians master the technique of successfully drying Mangoes, they can apply the principle to other fruits such as pineapples.
Ms. Kawamba said mangoes grown and harvested in Zambia are wasted due to a lack of storage and processing capacity when in season, subsequently, the fruit is not available out of season, in addition, the mounds of decomposing fruit then become a hazard to public health and the environment.
She went on to say that drying mangos is a value added measure which has the potential to pave way for the fruit to be packaged and exported within the SADC, the European Union and United Kingdom markets.
“Solar drying fruit is the most obvious and simplest solution to avoiding waste; moreover, it is cost effective and available to everyone. It is an affordable technology, uses only renewable energy (the sun), adds value, extends shelf life, makes fruits easier to export and prevents waste at the point where it is grown. Zambians can dry the fruit primarily to supplement their family’s diet in lean times, especially as a treat for their children. The health benefits are great because the mango fruit is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Any excess dried mango can be sold locally to boost household incomes,” she said.
Ms Kawamba points out that “unlike countries in Asia such as Bangladesh, the dried fruit sector in Zambia is under-developed yet the techniques are easy to learn, so very little is preventing us from making this transformative change. In Bangladesh and other places in the world the fruit is dried and preserved to be eaten throughout the year. Packs of dried mango are now finding their way onto the shelves of stores in the UK”.MyZambia MyAfrica also expressed interest in working with the Zambia High Commission to attract potentials partners who can provide Zambians with the skill of processing the Mango fruit into dry product through the MyMango project.
And Mrs. Chanda said the initiative by MyZambia MyAfrica could not have come at a better time when His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu President of the Republic of Zambia alluded to the importance of promoting value addition through the establishment of projects such as the Mango processing facility in the Eastern Province.
She said the diaspora play an important and strategic role in national development adding that the diaspora form a pool of skilled human capacity, the critical means through which the country can learn from.
“Developing our country calls for all Zambians home and away to participate. It is important for Zambians living in the United Kingdom to look back home and invest in businesses. Investments undertaken by Zambians is a sure ‘bet’ for sustainable development, building an effective and sustainable development requires indigenous businesses. We are happy that this initiative is coming from an indigenous Zambian who wants to serve her country. We recognise the diaspora as an important vehicle for the socio-economic development of Zambia,” she said.
LONDON, Thursday, 30 September, 2017
Issued by: Abigail Chaponda (Mrs.) First Secretary | Press and Public Relations Zambia High Commission in the United Kingdom