Musika Zambia Limited, a non-profit company, has been launched in Lusaka with a two-year financing of US$7mn from the Swedish Embassy
Information obtained from the company indicates that the organisation’s aim is to stimulate the development of the local agricultural markets for crops and livestock to 200,000 farming households in the next five years.
According to the firm’s managing director Reuben Banda, they are keen to make a positive impact on the people’s livelihoods by developing markets for smallholders and improving commercial market engagement in rural areas to help them step out of poverty. Banda was speaking in Lusaka recently at the launch of Musika (which means ‘market’ in local language), an independent local institution affiliated to the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU).
“The organisation will work with the small-scale farmers who are willing to invest in the production of their products and engage with the commercial market,” he said. “It will also work with the private sector entities that are willing to invest in productive and beneficial commercial relationships with the rural poor and Government.”
Deputy minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Benson Kapaya, paid tribute to the company for complementing the government’s efforts in exploring and developing crops and sub-sectors other than maize. He highlighted how it is imperative to re-focus on developing other sub-sectors that are better-suited to the different cultural conditions that Zambia has to offer and exploit the market opportunities that exist locally and internationally.
“Government welcomes efforts that strengthen the private sector and its ability to engage and benefit the smallholders in the agricultural sector,” said Kapaya. “It is through a strong private sector that market forces can help to pull the smallholder sector out of poverty.”
He also challenged the private sector to promote the adoption of new seed varieties and improved technologies that suit the changes in the agricultural market.