I realize I have been negligent in updating everyone about my new work in Zambia so today I will rectify that situation. I am still volunteering with EWB but I have switched teams from the Agricultural Value Chains (AVC) to the Business Development Sectors (BDS) team. The AVC team in Zambia was already very focused on working with private sector partners as a means to reduce poverty for rural Zambians, so the move to the BDS team has been a very smooth one so far. In my new role as a BDS African Program Staff (APS) I am partnering with a new Zambian organization called Musika (it means market in one of the local languages) to help build organizational capacity and to provide more tangible deliverables like preparing research reports on agent networks and market assessments on a variety of sub-sectors in the Zambian agricultural system. Musika is a new breed of social enterprise that is focused on making markets work better for the rural farmer. I think it is best if I let them tell you the details in their own words. I lifted this from a communications note and I think it does a great job of explaining their work and philosophy.
What and Who is Musika?
· Musika is an independent Zambian non-profit company, affiliated with the Zambian National Farmers Union. Our vision is that in 5 years, we will have helped create a dynamic Zambian agricultural market that works for all stakeholders, in particular rural farming communities. To achieve that goal, we provide quality market development services to Zambia’s rural agricultural sector to increase the impact that it has on economic growth at all levels of society.
Who does Musika work with?
· Musika’s facilitation approach focuses on assisting Zambian businesses, farmers and associations to address market challenges and find innovative opportunities for growth.
· Our target clients are the Zambian smallholder farmers who are willing and able to invest in their production and engage with commercial markets. Our direct day-to-day clients are primarily private businesses (from multinational corporations to rural micro-enterprises) that are willing to invest in productive and beneficial commercial relationships with the rural poor. We also work with other NGOs in the sector, government departments, industry associations and civil society.
· Musika works to ensure that women and vulnerable individuals are included in productive opportunities. We are also working with partners to reduce environmental risks and exploring opportunities, including bringing the benefits of international environmental markets to rural Zambia.
What does Musika do?
Musika’s work focuses on 4 key sectors in agriculture – inputs, outputs, services and finance
1. Agricultural Input Markets: Musika works with agricultural retail firms and livestock input supply companies to develop business models to effectively service the smallholder market with a sales service that bundles information and technology transfer into the transaction.
2. Agricultural Service Markets: Musika works to develop commercial service provision for rural farmers in the form of veterinary services, mechanized land preparation, crop spraying, cattle dipping, etc. to increase smallholder productivity, helping Zambians to develop businesses that will service farmers, for example, veterinary services, mechanized land preparation, crop spraying, cattle dipping, etc. to increase smallholder productivity.
3. Agricultural and Rural Finance Markets: Musika focuses its efforts primarily on the developing financial products and services with existing financial institutions that support the poor in accessing financial services and products that meet their needs.
4. Agricultural Output Markets: Musika focuses on building relationships between crop and livestock buyers and smallholder suppliers, and on facilitating the development of a broader, transparent, less risky market environment.
Where does Musika work?
Musika’s geographical areas of operation are determined by the requirements of the various private sector players in these markets. At the moment this includes: Southern, Lusaka, Eastern, Central, Northern and Muchinga Provinces. Our mandate includes supporting where appropriate the development of agricultural markets in the more remote regions of Northern and Western Zambia.
How does Musika work?
Musika offers support through information and education, and small investments to entities in the agricultural and rural markets to assist in developing their businesses and servicing small holder farmers. The intention of all Musika’s investments is to support businesses in trying out new service offerings that will benefit smallholder farmers.