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Mr. G

Our vision is to establish a value addition for-profit social enterprise and thus reduce post-harvest loss using renewable energy

Photo of Moses Garaba
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Written by

Lead Applicant Organization Name

Mag Ziza Holdings Ltd, Zambia

Lead Applicant Organization Type

  • Small company (under 50 employees)

How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?

  • 1-3 years

Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?

Choma, Southern Province, Zambia

Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?

Peace River Alberta Canada

Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?

The population of Choma District is said to be about 247,860 The total area of the province is 85,283 km2

What country is your selected Place located in?

Zambia, Southern Africa

Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.

I was born in Zimbabwe but moved to Zambia as a young man.

I have just returned to Canada after spending 2 years working as a volunteer in rural Zambia. I was part of an NGO staff that worked to address four areas, resettlement, education, development and peace. It was during this time that I saw extreme poverty in Zambian villages. 

Having been the beneficial of Zambia's help and hospitality in the past, I am drawn to this country by my desire to give back to the country, now that I am able.

I returned to Canada, with a strong desire to help create a solution to poverty and hunger. As one Zambian said, while commenting about the difficult of not having electricity:

“You may not appreciate the power of light until you are in darkness. For poor urban and rural households, having access to light is life changing – enabling children to study, helping enterprises to operate more business hours, combating crime and so forth."

High rates of HIV play a role in exacerbating poverty in Zambia, with approximately 14.3 percent of adults in the country living with HIV. 1.5 million children are orphaned as a result of the disease. Poverty rates are highest for female-headed households, with extreme poverty levels of more than 60 percent in rural areas and 15 percent in urban areas.  

In addition to the negative effects of climate change, erosion, desertification, deforestation, drought and water shortages are having detrimental impacts on food security.  

And yet while the challenges may appear too great to overcome, the opportunities for solutions are as visible as they are plentiful. 

Manufacturing possesses the biggest opportunity for growth, along with the agriculture and energy sectors.

Mag Ziza Holdings Ltd believes its vision is part of the answer. Along with local solutions to fight climate change, creativity and addressing gender imbalance, this country can meet the SDGs.  

Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.

Zambia is a beautiful country. It is acknowledged as one of the safest countries in Sub Saharan Africa. It's people are welcoming and friendly. 

With a total population of just under 18 million, Zambia is made up of 72 ethnic groups living side by side  in peace and harmony. The climate is as warm as the people are friendly.

Most Zambians’ normal diet is built around a single staple food such as cassava, maize or sorghum. These starchy staples contain a lot of carbohydrates and are therefore a good source of energy, though nothing else.

Zambia is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. It has a total of 5 664 km of land boundaries, and it borders: Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and  Botswana.

Mag Ziza Holdings Ltd's farm is in the Southern Province of Zambia. This region is home to the Tonga people, the second largest ethnic group in Zambia.
About 60 % of Zambians live in rural areas, of which only 4-10% % have access to electricity.

As of 2010, over 37% of Zambia’s commercial energy is supplied by imported fossil fuel.
Wood fuel remains the dominant source of energy, accounting for over 80% of the total energy supplies in the country. 63%of Zambians live in poverty.

Zambia's deforestation rate is the highest in Africa and fifth globally, with an average loss of between 250,000. and 300,000 hectares of forest every year.

 Zambia is endowed with a large land resource base of 42 million hectares however, only 1.5 million hectares is cultivated every year. 

Zambians are a peace loving people with 72 ethnic groups (calling each other ethnic cousins!) living in harmony

Zambia’s dependence on maize crop remains very high which, along with the effects of climate change, contributes to making it vulnerable to climatic shocks.

What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)


What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?


Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.

One of Mag Ziza Holdings Ltd. directors is a rural school principal and has intimate knowledge of the challenges faced by rural residents.

-  Africa is probably the most vulnerable continent to climate change and variability because of a combination of its low adaptive capacity and socio-economic conditions.(

- Few other regions are suffering from the consequences of climate change as southern Zambia. A drought has gripped the nation for four years now, and the effect is being felt much more in rural areas as evidenced by many civil society groups initiating feeding programs especially in schools.

1. Energy Crisis in the face of Climate change

Zambia has been experiencing droughts. Along with creating electric power shortages, the droughts have curtailed hydro power production at the country's largest power generating plant, Kariba Dam forcing the government to implement power blackouts of 10 to 20 hours/day (load shedding)

 Hydro dependency in the face of droughts is making it difficult for Zambia to meet its power needs. Many households have reverted to charcoal for cooking, causing a spike in prices and accelerated the rate of deforestation. 

2. Problems of Deforestation 

A huge market for charcoal to meet power and cooking needs has increased especially in urban areas. Zambia's deforestation rate is the highest in Africa and fifth globally, with an average loss of between 250,000. and 300,000 hectares of forest every year. The loss of trees aggravates the effects of climate change: less rain leads to constrained hydro-power generation and poor harvest and the vicious cycle of misery continue

 3. Gender Inequality in Zambia

Zambia continues to lag behind and has one of the highest levels of gender inequality. It is experiencing a rapid increase in population with cultural norms and "encouraging" women to have more children.  Population growth, global warming, drought and hunger are hostile and incompatible dance partners.

 Zambia needs to turn the "boundless crop of women orphans" into gainfully employed, farmers, doctors, lawyers,  and tradeswomen. The country (individuals, government, churches, schools and businesses) need to address gender inequality  by being intentional in creating opportunities for women as a means of maximizing human talent and promoting social justice and fairness. 

 4. Hunger and challenges of post-harvest losses in Zambia

FAO, estimates that about one-third of all food produced worldwide each year is lost or wasted, after harvest, enough to feed the total number of undernourished people globally. Zambia, along with other African countries contribute 27% of the total post-harvest loss.  A significant amount of nutrition rich fruits, vegetables and crops are lost each year due to poor post-harvest techniques.



Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.

Renewable Solar Energy

A. Mag Ziza plans to install an Off -Grid Solar panel system to generate energy

Zambia has a limitless gift from nature... sunshine. With an average of 2,000-3,000 hours of sunshine, which is high compared to the rest of the world, and an average daily irradiation level of 5.5 kWh per m2, Zambia is naturally suited for solar energy generation.

This renewable energy will be used for the following activities:

a. fruit/vegetable drying and fruit beverage processing. The processed food would help address hunger and malnutrition. 

b.  setting up a "Battery Charging Hub" for rural and urban customers who have no access to electricity. Charged batteries  will be made available, on a rental or time payment bases rural and urban customers who have no access to electricity.

The use of solar power for lighting at night and also help reduce the the health hazard and environmental pollution caused by kerosene lamps. Renewable energy will improve the quality of life for Zambians. 

c. Solar power will also be used for fruit/vegetable drying and fruit beverage processing. 

Fruit/vegetable drying  and juice making help to reduce post-harvest loss and increases shelf life of nutritious food. The drying of food empower farmers, reduce food loss and improves food security. Dried mangoes are an excellent source of both types of dietary fiber, helps stabilize blood sugar levels and  increases nutrient absorption and thus improves health. Mango/fruit/vegetable processing is an important part of value added agriculture.

d. Planting a Fruit Orchard

By planting an orchard of fruit-yielding trees we contribute towards carbon sequestration, while at the same time producing food for human consumption. Mag Ziza intents to plant 4 hectare of its newly purchased piece of land in rural Choma with fruit tree seedlings. This piece of land has historically been used to grow tobacco.  These fruit trees will help restore this degraded land by fixating soils through providing windbreaks, shelter belts, and reduce soil erosion.

One of Mag Ziza's priority as a for-profit social enterprise is to address and challenge gender inequality through employment. We will partner with local orphanages and a community training facility in Choma to provide employment course in catering, food handling, hygiene and basic tree care to empower these women with the skills they need to enter the job market. We will be intentional in prioritizing the hiring of orphans and other vulnerable women  


High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.

There is a strong interaction between energy and other development areas, such as food, water, gender equality, education and health, in order to achieve the objectives of the SDGs. Energy will improve lives

“You may not appreciate the power of light until you are in darkness. For poor urban and rural households, having access to light is life changing – enabling children to study, helping enterprises to operate more business hours, combating crime and so forth."

 Creating employment "provides a way out of poverty" to orphans of which Zambia has 1.5 million and will creates conditions for healthier  people.

Drying of food reduces post harvest losses and increases shelf life.  It will help families reduce food expenses, contributes in reducing reliance on conventional sources of energy, creates income opportunities for the unemployed, while increasing food security and preserving the environment., To quote Timo Olkkonen, ambassador of Finland in Zambia "Sustainable development should be economically, environmentally and socially sustainable."

Mangoes perform better in low-fertility soils and in tropical and subtropical regions. 

The mango tree produces the delicious mango fruit, while absorbing carbon dioxide, producing oxygen and supporting the livelihoods of thousands of workers. Planting is a win for employees as well as the environment

Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?

For Zambia, agricultural development is the most powerful tool to end poverty and hunger by 2050. 

Zambia's food system vision must address a multitude of problems at the same time. The system must look at enhancing food availability and production for an increasing population.  This can be done by adding value to what the country currently produce, increase growth in domestic production, adopting technologies that help reduce post-harvest loss such as extending foods's shelf life.

By implementing some simple yet effective climate mitigation strategy such as tree planting, a number of positives are created at the same time from that act alone:. These actions will create employment.Trees will also provide cooling shade, block cold winter winds, attract birds and wildlife, purify air, absorb C02, prevent soil erosion, clean our water, among others 

Because of the drought, power generation continues to be affected.  To counter problems caused by limited hydro power generation, Zambia, like many sub-Saharan African countries has a clean unlimited renewable resource at its fingertips, an available asset that knows no boundary, solar energy.  Mag Ziza's vision is to harness this resource to further its employment creation and food production goals and limit its carbon footprint.

The use of solar dryers to extend the shelf life of seasonally available food is one inexpensive but effective way to help store food for longer.There is also a possibility of using the excess produced solar power to charge (charge hub) batteries and cell phones so customers who have no access to electricity can reduce the use of unhealthy kerosene lamps. All these little and inexpensive steps have the effect of improving people's lives from the ground up

Solar energy is a renewable free source of energy that is sustainable and totally inexhaustible. It is also a non-polluting source of energy and it does not emit any greenhouse gases when producing electricity. Along with the environmental benefits, solar energy will reduce our energy bills, save the business money and increase the viability of our business which in tern will ensure continued employment of workers.

Private sector in Zambia has an important role to play in creating the economic growth, employment and purchasing options needed for significant poverty reduction.

As a for- profit social enterprise Mag Ziza is more sustainable as we can focus on building a successful for-profit company while as we equally measure our success both in terms of the business/financial metrics and the social metrics as well. This sustainable development model should help in job creation for women and the rural poor. This strategy and focus should is is critical, in our view to reducing poverty in Zambia

Surely, Zambia can manage to fulfill at least some of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as affordable and clean energy, gender equality, economic growth;   reduced inequality, poverty and  zero hunger. 

The effects of poverty are seen in children’s development. Around 15 percent of children are underweight, and 40 percent are stunted. As a volunteer in rural schools I saw it the effects of hunger with my own eyes.

High rates of HIV play a role in exacerbating poverty in Zambia, with approximately 14.3 percent of adults in the country living with HIV. 1.5 million children are orphaned as a result of the disease. Poverty rates are highest for female-headed households, with extreme poverty levels of more than 60 percent in rural areas and 15 percent in urban areas.  

Poverty levels remained high mainly because of low investments in key sectors that employ majority of the inhabitants. For example, various tropical fruits grow is in Zambia. While this is not exactly an organized industry, when some fruit ripens, almost at the same time across the country it is not uncommon to get a bad smell of rotting fruits as one travels the country. Because of little processing capability, both financial and knowledge this "gift" goes to waste. Fast forward a few months, by June people are experiencing hunger.

At Mag Ziza, we believe that building/installing solar dryers and buying this fruit from rural farmers for beverage making would be part of the solution. It would create products that could be bought and safely stored for future use when its needed....the "chipmunk storage effect" Packaged juice can also be purchased months after the fruit is finished until the next ripening season. Thus employment can also be sustained during the dry season. Vegetables and some crops can also be dried, making storage easy and thus reducing spoilage. 

Reducing post harvest loss has many benefits to the farmers, benefits that trickle to the general population in terms of availability of goods and affordability Not only are losses clearly a waste of food, but they also represent a similar waste of human effort, farm inputs, livelihoods, investments and scarce resources such as water. Reduction in post harvest losses is good for the farmer, the consumer and the larger community

Mag Ziza views gender equity as a welcome opportunity for widening the intellectual space for our business, is smart economics, a human rights and social issue. Our vision is to provide equal, participation and leadership in decision-making at all levels for our company, irrespective of one's gender.  Gender discrimination and marginalization has an effect of curbing development and had a high social cost. It is unhealthy, not to mention unjust. By being intentional in our hiring women and the vulnerable, increase the number of women employees in our company and thus help improve lives. We will extend and encourage those marginalized to work for us by, first, providing the necessary basic training so that they can compete on equal footing.

Based on estimates by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) 25 billion liters of kerosene and 1.4 million tonnes of candles are burned every year for lighting, resulting in emissions of 74 million tonnes of CO2. For its part, Kerosene is has serious negative effects on human health such as eye and respiratory diseases resulting from the emission of toxic fumes.  

It is hard to imagine a life without electricity. I experienced it in Zambia for two years ( 4 hours each day) and the effect on my family and children was hard to explain. Now, to go through 10 to 18 hours a day would be unbearable, as one Zambian was quoted as having said:

“You may not appreciate the power of light until you are in darkness. For poor urban and rural households, having access to light is life changing – enabling children to study, helping enterprises to operate more business hours, combating crime and so forth."

Our vision would reduce the effect of darkness on this one rural population in Southern Province of Zambia. With "power" one can do a lot. Simple activities like charging cell phones makes it easy to communicate for commerce, health and to engage socially. Zambia has little to no landlines. 

I think our vision has power and with it we hope to do a lot of good

How did you hear about the Food System Vision Prize?

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1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Moses Garaba  Great to see you joining the Prize!

We noticed your submission is currently unpublished. Was this your intention? We'd love to have your submission included in the Prize. Even if you've not started populating your Vision just yet, by publishing your submission you can make it public for other teams in your region to see, get in touch and possibly even collaborate with you.

You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your Vision at any time before 31 January 2020 by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. If you need inspiration or guidance, take a look at the Food Vision Prize Toolkit.
Here is the link to the Prize Toolkit:

Look forward to seeing your Vision evolve through the coming weeks.