Paprika, used as a food colourant and flavour enhancer throughout the world, has attracted the focus of regional economic initiatives, governments and agribusiness from South Africa to Zambia. In Zambia, family agribusiness Bimzi has organised 3000 small-scale farmers to grow paprika for export, reports Spizes.com.
The government has provided subsidies for fertiliser, irrigation and pre-shipment finance. Development agencies have provided funding, and South Africans have contributed technical assistance and training. Bimzi exports 400 tons a year, most of the paprika grown in its raw form, to South African manufacturers.
According to the report, plans to irrigate crops could yield three flushes a year, which would go some way to increasing the critical mass needed to produce value-added products. In October a processing plant to manufacture oleoresin, a food colourant, will be on stream and Bimzi will be able to export directly a processed product.
Colour X and Saprika export 85 per cent of the oleoresin and 60 per cent of the powdered spice produced to the US, South America, Europe, the UK and the Far East. Natural Extractions sources most of its paprika from Zimbabwe.