Nsongwe Vegetableson September 13, 2013
Our guests at the Falls Resort love to eat traditional Zambian food. Zambian meals have become so popular that we knew we had to find more local vegetables to use in our kitchens.
Near the village of Nsongwe, about 5 km away from the Resort, a group of entrepreneurial women had started a banana plantation. Their banana plants had died several years running because of frost and the women had become disheartened. We knew that we could help these women, replacing the bananas with vegetables.
Stain Musungaila, in charge of our corporate social investment programme, Rays of Light, has been working now for a few years with the 18 women from the village. They sow the seeds, transplant, weed and harvest the vegetables. When the vegetables have been sold they share in the profits. Partnering with USAID and ASNAPP (Agribusiness in Sustainable Natural African Plant Products), we have helped supply them with drip irrigation, a pump for the borehole and a large tank to store water. We are also doing trials of different seeds which have been brought from Kenya. All the seeds have been planted at Nsongwe in trial beds; they have been labeled and the women are analysing the success of each variety. Comparing the yields from the different varieties and getting comments on flavour, they are able to see which ones work for us in Zambia.
While on a visit to the vegetable plot I met Mary and Mildred tending the plants. The rains had just finished and all the maize and rainy-season vegetables had been harvested. Some of the other vegetables had been left to seed so that the seeds could be used for replanting.
I asked them which vegetables were doing well. They showed me one variety of spinach which they said was very popular. They told me that when they took this one to the market everyone wanted to buy it because it was different from other varieties and tasted really good.
Mary told me: The other women flood the market with the common spinach and have to sell it cheaply, but because we take different ones we get a better price.
I hope you make sure you have enough for the hotels, I said.
Oh yes, we supply Sun first. It is only when we have some left over that we take it to the market, Mary replied.
We’re thrilled by the success of this project, and know that when our guests dine in our restaurants on the resort, that they are making meaningful a contribution to our community with every bite… I can only think that this adds a little something extra to the taste!