Company ProfileStarkE Ayres Zambia Limited

Starke Ayres Zambia (SAZ) is a specialist in the vegetable, flower and the lawn seed industry. Starke Ayres has its own vegetable seed breeding programmes, supported by ongoing research and development. Starke Ayres has its headquarters in South Africa and subsidiaries in Kenya, Namibia and Zambia. Initially, Starke Ayres distributed seeds through Pannar Seed in Zambia. 

SAZ distributes vegetable seeds, both hybrid and Open Pollinated Varieties (OPVs), to agro-dealers, commercial growers, smallholder growers and seedling companies. They also supply retail chain stores with seed packages and pesticides for home gardening and subsistence farming. SAZ is recognised as the market leader for vegetable seeds in Zambia. 

Project Description

With support from EZCF, Stark Ayres aims to;

  • Work directly with smallholder farmers to train and provide extension services to them on better seed quality and farming. Through this project, they will illustrate to smallholder farmers on how hybrid seeds can improve yields, improve quality of output, be more climate smart/disease resistant and also improve nutrition.
  • Set up demo sites for training and small seedling tunnels. Smallholder farmers will receive training and be offered subsidised seedling samples for trial. Entrepreneurial farmers will also be invited to set up seedling tunnels in rural areas and sell seedlings to smallholder farmers in the area.  Having smaller tunnels closer to farmers is more efficient and cost effective for the smallholder farmers. 

Marketing, impact on people and the environment;

Starke Ayres prides itself on quality. Seeds come with certification from the original supplier and the certification is validated by Starke Ayres labs in South Africa. Starke Ayres Zambia further tests seed for vigour and germination after 6 months shelf life through Zambia’s Seed Certification Control Board. 

The new project will focus on supporting smallholder farmers to improve their yields, income and nutrition, through the diversification from cereal row crops and introduction of hybrid vegetable seeds. The use of hybrid seeds will allow more efficient use of natural resources (land, water). In addition, smallholder farmers will be encouraged to grow vegetables in 3 cycles to protect them from seasonality.

The project aims to reach 60,000 smallholder farmers through the established seedling tunnel touch points. These targeted farmers are existing vegetable farmers, and potential vegetable farmers. The project aims to train at least 30,000 of these on vegetable production through a more formal process (a specified training program).

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Target Smallholders