Funamwango – A Citrus Flavoured Nutrition Boost During COVID-19
Updated on 27 January 2021
Very few microentrepreneurs can boast about increased sales and a larger customer base during the COVID-19 pandemic. On the other hand, this is the story of Funamwango, a smallholding located in the outskirts of Lusaka.
Coming from a family of passionate farmers, Dorothy Kasompe made the decision, once retired from her job as a fitness instructor, to pursue farming. To Dorothy, establishing Funamwango Farm is her way of planning for retirement and leaving her children an inheritance. Funamwango Farm started up as an orchard specialised in oranges and lemons then expanded to having some fish ponds on the land.
Funamwango Farm is situated on rocky terrain with very little access to electricity and water, essential utilities for an orchard. After being frustrated by artisanal farming methods which produced low yields from the orchard, Dorothy sought financing by consulting farmers within her network for recommendations on where to access credit for her ambitions. A fellow farmer referred her to AB Bank Zambia where she applied for an Agro Loan which is tailored for smallholder farmers.
In 2015, AB Bank granted Funamwango Farm their first loan of 15,000 ZMW (approximately 750 USD). Dorothy was impressed with how quick the loan processing time took and the fact that she was considered for financing at all by a commercial bank. The first loan catered to the purchase of a 200L water tank. Thereafter, Funamwango has qualified and accessed four additional loans amounting to a total value of 97,000 ZMW (approximately 4,850 USD) which they have successfully paid back. This has allowed Funamwango Farm to get connected to the electricity grid and add more irrigation equipment for her orchard and fish pond expansion.
Due to the high demand of Vitamin C rich foods, Funamwango Farm has experienced a surge in demand since the onset of the COVID19 pandemic. Three major groceries stores contracted her to supply the oranges. The business has had to decline some orders due to inadequate supply for the high demand. Funamwango Farm also diversified into agro-processing by adding value to the fruits through the production of handcrafted jams. Dorothy dreams of expanding her farm and eventually purchasing an industrial juicer to make local organic orange juice that can be sold countrywide.