Report shows agricultural value chains in Zambia, other African countries at risk


A newly-launched report has revealed that agribusinesses in agricultural value chains in Zambia, Nigeria and Tanzania had been hard hit by the Covid-19, climate change and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, called “Triple Crisis.”

The third edition of the African Agribusiness Outlook Report which sheds light on the impact of the Triple Crisis on small and medium-sized agribusinesses in the three countries was released on Friday.

The report, which was jointly produced by AGRA, an African-led institution focused on scaling agricultural innovations and IPSOS, surveyed 1,623 small and agribusinesses in the rice, maize and tomato value chains in Nigeria, Zambia and Tanzania.

It also surveyed soybean, maize and tomato value chains in Zambia.

The report states: “Agribusinesses in agricultural value chains in Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia, have been hard hit by the “triple crisis” of Covid-19, climate change and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

“Although the larger businesses were hardest hit in Nigeria and Zambia in 2020, these businesses appear to have been better able to recover as at 2023.”

Some key findings of the report showed that tomatoes and soybeans were significantly impacted in Zambia.

It also showed that tomatoes recovered faster and medium-sized businesses were hit hardest by Covid-19, but also recovered more quickly.

“In Tanzania, 44 percent of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) experienced a drop-in revenue. In Zambia about 21 percent of SMEs reported a decline in their revenue.

“In Nigeria, maize was the hardest-hit crop in 2020. Medium-sized businesses were affected the most but recovered faster than smaller businesses. In Tanzania, maize was also the hardest-hit crop and struggled to recover compared to other value chains,” the report showed.

Unreliable rainfall was perceived as a very big problem in Zambia (54 percent) and Tanzania (62 percent) but a lower concern in Nigeria (32 percent).

The report also revealed some of the strategies employed by businesses to stay afloat during these challenging times including injecting additional capital, cost reduction measures, and streamlining their product lines.

Among them were that SMEs in Nigeria injected more capital into their businesses, followed by Zambia and Tanzania.

To cut expenses, SMEs in Zambia reduced staff costs, followed by Tanzania and Nigeria.

While loan uptake grew over the past few years, only a minority of SMEs took out loans to cope with the crisis, citing perceived affordability as a barrier.

Currently, the highest loan uptake by businesses is Zambia (15 percent) followed by Nigeria (12 percent) and Tanzania (10 percent).

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