Musika is a UK and Swedish aid funded development initiative which aims to improve the accessibility of the agricultural market; and stimulate private sector investment in the smallholders market. Zambian based, they connect with non-commercial and commercial clients giving business model advice and making smart investments to facilitate the growth of the market across the country. Our work, primarily, has been to visit agrodealers involved with the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), that is run by Musika, the government and several farmer’s unions. The programme is helping 241,000 farmers and thousands of dealers across Zambia by giving farmers a subsidy with which to buy their seeds, fertilisers, insecticides etc. We meet the people at respective dealers and look at the challenges they each face and try to come up with strategies to help them run their business more effectively.
“Working with Musika has been a great experience. Meeting new people and interacting with them, finding out their concerns and adding a personal touch to it was great” – Chanda
This has meant frequent trips to the rural town of Chongwe, 20 miles out of Lusaka, and developing a trusting relationship with the people to who these businesses matter the most. Some of these dealers can be small and the fluctuations in sales between the farming season and quieter months can put a huge strain on their business; so they need to maximise profitability in these busier periods.
“Working with Musika has been hugely varied and ultimately a great environment, both in the office and in the field. You get to know the people you work with in the agrobusinesses personally, and to understand the huge relative importance of the challenges they face on a daily basis.” – Sam