By Mailesi Banda
THERE is a market in Europe for almost all the produce being sold at Lusaka’s Soweto market and once graded and nicely packaged, we would be able to export into that market, Jina Foods chief executive officer, Jean Habimana has said.
Mr. Habimana who grew up in Zambia and runs his own company in Europe announced that he had decided to set up a purchasing and packaging facility in Lusaka.
He said his interest in the chili’s was because he could not access enough chills to use in the production of chilly oils, sauces and pastes produced by his company in Denmark .
Mr. Habimana however lamented that he was not getting the desired response from Zambian farmers even after successfully distributing the seeds for the chili.
“In 2014, I did a distribution of Scottish bonnet seeds to farmers and encouraged them to cultivate them, while I waited for the farmers to cultivate, I started importing the same variety from Uganda. Unfortunately three years later none of the farmers among those who collected the seeds have contacted me,” Mr. Habimana said.
Mr. Habimana explained that he looked for the market for mostly veggies and fruits as a way of cutting the cost for the air bills even though chili was the main focus.
He revealed that his market for vegetables and fruits was currently at 100 to 200 tonnes per week, adding that there was room to supply more.
Mr. Habimana explained that he hoped to commence the project in three months’ time and with all the documentations being granted by the relevant authorities.
He said the project would commence as soon as the documentations was granted, adding that once he received a positive response from the farmers, Zambia would be among the major exporters of vegetables to Europe.