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Stories 4 mins Read 7 May 2024

Good Nature Agro: Sowing the Seeds of Change

Founded in 2014 by visionary entrepreneurs, GNA embarked on its mission to empower small-scale farmers through a holistic approach, growing quality seeds. Beginning with just 40 farmers, GNA's journey has since blossomed, with over 20,000 farmers now benefiting from its programs. Changwe Kumalinga, GNA's Chief Financial Officer, reflects on their humble beginnings, stating, "Our journey is intertwined with the aspirations of farmers. We recognized the need to provide farmers with access to high-quality inputs, finance, and markets to unlock their full potential."

In the verdant landscapes of Zambia, where agriculture is the backbone of communities, Good Nature Agro (GNA) stands as a champion for small-scale farmers. Dedicated to uplifting them from poverty, GNA’s journey is a testament to resilience, innovation, and the transformative power of agriculture. Through a blend of quality seeds, farmer empowerment, climate-smart practices, and strategic investments, GNA is transforming Zambia’s agriculture.

Agriculture in Zambia: A Tapestry of Challenges and Opportunities

Zambia’s agricultural sector is as diverse as its landscapes, with small-scale farmers comprising approximately 90 percent of agricultural producers. Despite its vast potential, the sector grapples with challenges ranging from climate variability to limited infrastructure. However, amidst these challenges lie opportunities for growth and prosperity, with agriculture contributing significantly to GDP and employing three-quarters of the population.

The Zambian Market

  • 75 million ha land area
  • 43 million ha of arable land
  • 16% of Arable Land Currently Cultivated
  • 45% of SADC Groundwater
  • 1,600,000 Smallholder Households

Seeding Change: The Genesis of Good Nature Agro

Founded in 2014 by visionary entrepreneurs, GNA embarked on its mission to empower small-scale farmers through a holistic approach, growing quality seeds. Beginning with just 40 farmers, GNA’s journey has since blossomed, with over 20,000 farmers now benefiting from its programs. Changwe Kumalinga, GNA’s Chief Financial Officer, reflects on their humble beginnings, stating, “Our journey is intertwined with the aspirations of farmers. We recognized the need to provide farmers with access to high-quality inputs, finance, and markets to unlock their full potential.”

By collaborating with smallholders, GNA facilitates the production of seeds (to be replanted) and commodities (to be eaten or processed) for four different types of legumes – groundnut, cowpea, soybean, and beans, all of which are open-pollinated varieties. This emphasis on legume cultivation brings about long-term positive changes in soil fertility and provides increased access to nutritious food for local communities.

Empowering Farmers: A Human-Centred Approach

Central to Good Nature Agro’s (GNA) mission is its deeply ingrained human-centered approach, which lies at the very core of its operations. Understanding the intricate challenges faced by farmers in Zambia’s agricultural landscape, GNA has tailored its strategies to cater to the specific needs of each individual farmer.

Through a meticulous process of engagement and collaboration, GNA provides customized inputs, training, and financing tools to empower farmers and enhance their agricultural productivity. This personalized approach ensures that farmers receive the support and resources they need to thrive in a demanding environment.

Changwe Kumalinga, GNA’s Chief Financial Officer, underscores the significance of this approach, highlighting how their “high-touch model” is designed to invest in each grower as an individual. By offering comprehensive training, financial assistance, and access to markets, GNA has transformed the lives of over 20,000 farmers who previously lacked access to essential inputs, affordable loans, or reliable markets. This holistic approach not only fosters economic empowerment but also strengthens the social fabric of rural communities, fostering a sense of ownership and pride among farmers. By placing farmers at the centre of its operations, GNA ensures that its interventions are not only effective but also sustainable, laying the groundwork for long-term prosperity and resilience in Zambia’s agricultural sector as legumes are more resistant to climate change, increase fertility of the soil and hence enable to increase productivity of other crops.

Driving Impact Through Value Chains: The AgriFI Investment

In our pursuit of empowering entrepreneurship, we recognised GNA’s potential and invested in July 2023 USD 3 million. The investment’s goal is to help expand GNA’s production capacity and build a new factory focused on legume commodities.

Rodrigo Madrazo, CEO of EDFI MC, emphasizes the transformative potential of the investment, stating,

“Our support of Good Nature Agro comes from our understanding of their importance in the value chain and our support for their business model which encompasses full backing of the farmers – from training, guaranteed market access and increased incomes from higher value crops. We hope that with the new factory they are building they will be able to extend their groundwork for even more farmers in Zambia and beyond.”

Navigating Challenges: Weathering the Storm

Despite their remarkable progress, GNA faces challenges inherent to the agricultural sector, including climate variability and market uncertainties. Recent disruptions, such as the surge in fertilizer prices due to the conflict in Ukraine, have further compounded their challenges. However, GNA remains resilient, leveraging innovation and strategic diversification to mitigate risks and seize opportunities for growth.

To mitigate risks, GNA plans to expand its operations to countries with two rain seasons, such as Ghana and Rwanda. By diversifying their geographic footprint, GNA aims to enhance resilience and ensure sustainable growth. Additionally, investments in processing facilities and biochar utilization underscore GNA’s commitment to environmental sustainability and soil regeneration.

Charting the Course Ahead: A Brighter Tomorrow

As GNA prepares to unveil its new factory in September 2024, the future brims with promise and potential. With a steadfast commitment to empowering farmers and driving sustainable development, GNA is poised to unlock new frontiers of growth and impact. Through innovation, collaboration, and a relentless pursuit of excellence, GNA continues to sow the seeds of transformation, ushering in a brighter tomorrow for Zambia’s agricultural sector.