The Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel by Anantara is proudly proving that authentic luxury can be enriched by adopting a mindful and holistic approach to day-to-day operations. The property’s recent initiatives incorporate smallholders into the hotel’s procurement process as part of its drive to empower local communities through sustainability projects, ensuring they get a share of the thriving tourism economy.
Zambia, home to Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and Victoria Falls, has seen tourism numbers climb steadily over the past years making it Zambia’s fastest-growing national economic sector. Yet, while the more established businesses have been reaping the benefits, the smallholders are being pushed out.
Livingstone is home to around 300 smallholder farmers traditionally relying on roadside stand sales. More often than not, failing to make the sale, they have little choice but to turn to the profiteering middlemen. By launching a biweekly Smallholder Farmers’ Market at the hotel’s warehouse, The Royal Livingstone essentially cut out the middleman by guaranteeing to buy all of the crop directly from the smallholders, at a fair price.
Zambia’s women farmers are no strangers to specialist produce, and the Maramba Women’s Mushroom Farm grows mushrooms that inspire world-class chefs. The farm was saved from closure by investment from The Royal Livingstone Hotel. The farm’s reach extends beyond specialist agriculture, by providing education, medication and support services to residents affected by HIV/AIDS. As a result of this initiative, 15 women are enabled to take care of 160 orphans, widows and vulnerable adults.
At Nsongwe Women’s Farm – an indigenous fruit farm that employs more than 3,000 people – the Anantara team has trained the farm workers in sustainable agriculture techniques. Historically, even though women did much of the field work, men managed the marketing and sales of produce, seldom giving women access to earnings from production. The members have been trained in financial management and marketing principles and now sell most of their produce to local hotels and resorts through long-term contracts that ensure sustainability. Anyone can plant a seed, but not everyone has the skills needed to build and run a successful farming business like the Nsongwe Women’s Farm.
Just as impactful is the Libuyu Women’s Peanut Butter Project empowering HIV-positive women by outfitting a peanut butter factory. From ensuring that the production process meets local health and safety standards, to designing and supplying uniforms and running regular sales and marketing workshops, the project has been instrumental in making local women self-reliant and confident in their future. Changing the lives of women daily, one jar of peanut butter at a time.