Two agribusiness companies – Classic Foods Limited and Seba Foods Limited of Kenya and Zambia respectively have won of over £1 million funding to address soyabeans challenges in the East and Southern Africa blocs.

Drawn off FoodTrade East & Southern Africa (FoodTrade ESA) coffers, the financial assistance is tailored to fund projects to unlock barriers in the two region’s soyabeans chains.

FoodTrade East and Southern Africa is a 5 year trade enhancement and promotion programme focusing on staple food crops. Funded by the UK Government and managed by Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI).

Classic Foods and Seba Foods will implement project to support smallholder farmers to improve yields, access appropriate storage solution and get guaranteed market for produce.

Launched in 2016 the Soybean Challenge Fund received 90 applicants from nine countries across East and Southern Africa – Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.

Crafted to stimulate innovative business models driven by private sector companies and private sector led consortiums, Soyabean Challenge Fund seek to boost production, value addition, and cross-border trade in soybeans in East and Southern Africa.

Under the scheme FoodTrade ESA will provide up to 49% of the total budget of the projects, with each grantee expected to provide a matching fund.

Grantees are optimistic the fund will improve the soyabeans value chain and prop up performance of the cycle.

 “We plan to enhance integrated farming systems in order to empower the farming community as well as bring to market more suitable consumer products,” said Classic Foods, Chief Executive Office Wachira Kariuki.

Sharing sentiments on the potential the project, Gaurav Vijayvargiya, Global Business Head at Seba Foods said: “We have big ambitions to transform the lives of tens of thousands of smallholder farmers in Zambia, and this recent funding pushes us closer to reaching our goals.”

Vijayvargia said the target is to increase smallholder capacity, improve yields, boost incomes, and provide a competitive market.

 Who is Classic Foods?

Classic Foods Limited, a food processing and Distribution Company in Kenya, which targets smallholder farmers by providing them with capacity building for enhanced crop production and post-harvest crop management as well as off-taking and value addition. The project will train farmers in Kenya and Uganda, and provide follow-up monitoring and mentoring through cooperatives. Classic Foods aims to train at least 25,000 farmers on farming best practices by the end of 2017, reduce postharvest losses by over 70% in its areas of operation and create wider market access for them, increasing overall trade volumes.

Who is Seba Foods?

Zambia food processing company, Seba Foods Zambia Ltd, was the second recipient of the Soybean Challenge Fund grant money. With the funding, the company aims to increase farmer’s capacity for soybean production and process it for local consumption, positively impacting all players along the value chain. Through the project, smallholder farmers will have access to training and input financing to increase production yields and to ensure that the yield per hectare is maximised. This will support the growth and commercialisation of smallholder soybean farming.