ZAMBIA – Mushili Beans, a Zambian processer and supplier of affordable pre-cooked frozen beans that require 10-15 minutes of cooking, is seeking to expand its product range to introduce more varieties with a longer shelf life.

This will be made possible through the support of Prospero Zambia, a UKaid-funded private sector development entity.

Mushili sources its beans from small-scale farmers of which the majority are women hence providing a steady market for their produce and provide income opportunities.

The expansion will position Mushili as a market leader in the supply of pre-cooked beans and a driving force for job creation, indicates Prospero on a LinkedIn post.

Beans are an important source of protein, especially for low- and middle-income households, but consumption is limited by the high energy and water requirements for cooking it as well as the long cooking time of 2-3 hours.

In recent years, the rapid expansion of urban populations, rising incomes, and the high cost of energy have fuelled the demand for fast-cooking processed foods.

While canned beans are available, they are often out of reach for most households due to their high cost.

Developing affordable, convenient, on-the-shelf bean products that require less time, fuel, and resources to cook greatly enhance bean consumption, improve incomes for producers, and conserve the environment.

Beans are an important source of protein especially for low- and middle-income households

This is a concept that was taken up by Kenyan food startup, Kwanza Tukule whose primary focus while launching was to directly serve food vendors in Nairobi with pre-cooked food products to feed urban dwellers and workers, especially the in the urban low-income areas.

It is important to note that the company has however tweaked its business strategy mid-stream, to respond to the challenges and opportunities that the pandemic has thrown its way while boosting their food products distribution side.

Prospero Zambia has also announced its support to Panuka Farm, a Zambian family-owned business supplying diverse local fruit and vegetables to retailers in the country to build a sustainable local value chain.

The key off-takers of the farm’s products are Shoprite and PicknPay and their product range include English Cucumbers, Red and Yellows Peppers, Tomatoes, Cherry Tomatoes, Strawberries, Iceberg Lettuce, Green Beans, etc.

With Prospero’s support, Panuka installed a solar-powered irrigation system which allowed them to reduce reliance on grid energy which is subject to load shedding and causes major production disruptions.

The announcement follows the investor’s backing of Alliance Ginneries Limited (AGL), a cotton ginning company operating in Southern Africa, seeking to diversify its operation by venturing into soybean oil extraction and refining.

The company has commenced construction work for its new processing plant in Lusaka, Zambia to cost US$11m.

The invested amount was raised by the company through impact investment which Prospero supported it to close the deal.

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