THE Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) has released about US$4 million to support the implementation of the Food Enterprises for a Developed (FED) Zambia program.
Under the four-year programme, Sida will collaborate with an international nonprofit organization, TechnoServe.
The project is aimed at strengthening the food processing sector, generating economic opportunities for women, and creating jobs. This will be done through customized technical assistance, sector-wide training, and improved access to finance for food processors.
Head of bilateral development cooperation for the Embassy of Sweden Susanna Hughes said women play a vital role in the food processing sector and run many of the small firms that provide flour and edible oil to base-of-the-pyramid consumers and informal markets.
“At least half of the businesses participating in the FED program will be owned by women, and women will also make up at least half of the attendees in the sector-wide training and receive at least half of the grants disbursed through the program,” she said.
Ms Hughes said Sweden believes that strengthening the lives of women and youth through financial inclusion is crucial. We know that women are more likely to be financially excluded than men.
And TechnoServe’s country director for Zambia and Malawi, Chileshe Chilangwa said, “Through our work over the last decade to support processors in Zambia and across Africa, we’ve seen that strong food companies can have a lasting impact on livelihoods, employment, and nutrition.
“We’re excited to partner with Sida to help small and medium-sized businesses in the sector drive inclusive growth and generate new opportunities.”
The FED program will support the growth of foundational, small and medium-sized food processing enterprises in Zambia.