It’s been 20 years since Shoprite launched in Zambia with the opening of its first Cairo Road store in Lusaka on 26 October 1995. Today it is the largest supermarket chain in the country, employs almost 3 000 Zambians and sources 78% of its fruit and vegetable supplies from local farmers.
“Our business is built on a promise of lower prices,” commented Shoprite Zambia General Manager, Charles Bota. “It’s been a privilege to be able to bring Shoprite’s world class shopping experience to the people of Zambia.”
“Zambia is one of the Shoprite Group’s largest businesses outside of South Africa, and we’re very thankful for the support we have enjoyed here. In 1999 we were only able to source produce from 20 different Zambian farmers,” Bota continued. “We’ve worked hard to increase this number, and although there remain a number of challenges around both procurement and food safety, we’re incredibly proud of the fact that Shoprite today supports 81 different local farmers.”
In order to assist emerging farmers, Shoprite has invested heavily in food safety training. The supermarket chain also has planning and growing programmes in place, in order to assist farmers to produce year-round fruit and vegetable supplies.
To this end there have been some remarkable success stories, most notably with local potato growers who set up state-of-the-art storage facilities to extend the supply season of their produce. This means that, as from 2015, potato growers have been able to supply Shoprite with 7 million kg potatoes per year – even during the rainy season, when production is usually a challenge.