In 2000, the Eriksson Family took the significant decision to expand their farming operation to include food processing, producing Chankwakwa dried fruit, jams and sauces.
To source the raw materials, Mrs Dorothy Erikkson turned to local small-scale farmers via an outgrower scheme. She started with just 100 growers who supplied her with mangoes and other fruits and vegetables, training and organising families in cooperatives. Starting locally, in order to meet the growing demand for mango Chankwakwa now also sources from Luapula province.
Mrs Erikkson was aware that in order to keep the business growing she would need to expand the market for her products. She realised that her products, particularly the dried fruit, had two types of consumers: affluent Zambians and Muzungu (foreigners), all of whom mainly shop in large supermarket chains.
“At first we didn’t want to approach any large supermarkets because of the strict rules they have”, she said. But clearly this was a market that she needed to get into and eventually she secured listings at Shoprite, but only for dried fruit, particularly mango. The chain would not consider her jams as they already had a wide selection, albeit all sourced from outside of Zambia.
To help Chankwakwa meet the requirements of Shoprite, the PEPZ Business Linkages team helped Chankwakwa implement an accounting system to keep better control of the business as well as gain hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) certification, a systematic approach to food safety. The team then assisted Mrs Erikkson to re-present her jam range to Shoprite, this time with success. Five flavours are now available on shelves around the country and sales to Shoprite have soared by a massive 170% in the year to August 2016.
With HACCP success came the opportunity to develop exports to Denmark under the Fairtrade scheme. As part of this scheme, each supplying farmer receives a 2% premium on the export sales. As a result of this premium, outgrowers have extra income, with many choosing to put it towards purchasing land, something they would rarely have been able to do in the past. This gives them much more security for themselves and their families.
Through the expansion of the business, Chankwakwa has gone from outsourcing raw materials from 100 farmers to over 900, and with more opportunities to come. Mrs Eriksson’s next projects involve completing a robust solar system to provide a sustainable alternative to electricity from the grid.
Key success points
- 5 flavours of jam now on Shoprite shelves
- Sales to Shoprite grow by 170%
- Fairtrade exports to Europe commenced
- Employment opportunities grow