Zambian social enterprise gets international organic certification for groundnuts

ZAMBIA – The Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO), a social enterprise that supports small-scale farmers in Eastern Zambia has attained international organic certification for groundnuts which will allow the country to start exporting the crop to the international market.

According to Zambia Reports, the groundnuts are grown without chemicals and instead use natural and nature-based farming practices.

Through the certification undertaken by a French based company, ECOCERT, the firm becomes the first in Africa to acquire it.

ECOCERT is an organic certification organization that conducts inspections in over 80 countries, making it one of the largest organic certification organizations in the world.

COMACO Founder and Chief Executive Officer Dale Lewis said, “We believe there is an enormous future market waiting for our farmers if we can scale these efforts to include more farmers and other commodities.”

A total of 650 farmers out of the registered 4,004 took part in farming of the crop last season, with 50% being women.

COMACO produces its food products under the brand ‘It’s Wild!’

Groundnuts in Zambia, are the second largest crop in the country, after maize and account for nearly 9% of the cultivated land in the country and produced by about half the rural smallholders in Zambia, approximately 700,000 farmers.

According to the International nuts and dried foods statistical year book, world groundnut production reached over 41 million metric tons in 2019/20 and China accounted for 38% of the world groundnut crop, followed by India with 15%. The next 20% was produced by Nigeria (8%), the USA (6%), Senegal (3%) and Argentina (3%).

Although 2019/20 global ground nut crop was 3% down from the previous season, it was 7% above the prior 10-year average reflecting the total production growing trend observed over the last decade.

The average growth rate for this period was estimated at over 1.1 million metric tons/year.

According to the report, world nut production continues to rise year on year with the market accounting for US$88.94 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach around US$92.1 billion by 2026 at CAGR of around 3.5% between 2019 and 2026.

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