Musika Development Initiatives is continuing to establish its commercial relationship between the agribusinesses and the smallholder farmers in Zambia after eight successful years in the industry, and is working towards expanding its market development services in the future to aid local business
Writer: Phoebe Calver
Project Manager: Joshua Mann
Musika Development Initiatives Zambia Limited – trading as Musika – was established and incorporated as a local Zambian owned not-for-profit, limited company by guarantee.
The Company is owned by six Zambian agriculture-related institutions and commenced its operations on 20 July, 2010 initially as Profit Agriculture Market Development Zambia Limited to stimulate and support private sector investment in the Agricultural Market. However, on 15 October, 2010 the name changed to Musika Zambia to align it with its mandate as a market development organisation.
Musika means ‘a Market’ in the local language and was formed as a follow on to continue with the successful market development interventions achieved under the PROFIT-USAID Zambia private Sector development programme, which operated in Zambia for more than seven years by the USA Based NGO called CLUSA-NCBA.
Musika started work in November, 2011, after receiving Funding from Sida through the Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka, and were joined in 2012 by the UK Government’s DFID as Core Support Funding partners.
“Prior to the formation of Musika, as indicated above, majority of the staff had worked together for seven years in the development world to facilitate private development,” explains Reuben Banda, Managing Director of Musika. “Through using the value chain approach in engaging the Agribusiness industry, we were able to create market linkages, and it was from that background that we managed to come together towards the end of the programme to create a local private company limited by Guarantee that has evolved over time to what it is now; a thought leader in the Zambian agricultural sector.”
“Now we are able to build ‘value added’ relationships between corporate and smallholder sectors in line with our Objective of the development of a supportive market environment that provides opportunities for the rural poor to graduate out of poverty using the market systems approach. The small-scale farmers are engaging with the private sector with growth oriented and all-inclusive information-based business Models that have the ability to reach out to a large number of farmers.”
“We wanted to focus on both creating a supportive and enabling business environment in which this could seamlessly happen, and that is what we have built our solid reputation upon during the past six years.”
In its present-day form, Musika facilitates the development of these commercially-grounded business relationships that are beneficial to both the private sector and small-holder farmers in Zambia.
The private sector and smallholder farmers commercial relationship provides a platform for the agribusiness firms to not only sell their products and services, but also provide value addition-embedded services and private sector-led extension services, technology transfer, trainings, access to the market and finance.
Additionally, this helps to build the confidence of the smallholder farmers to invest in their own production to increase productivity per unit area and their production base through the adoption of productivity-enhancing technologies in this increasingly complex market, alongside utilising long-term incentives for the future of their farming business.
“We proudly provide our clients with high-quality and commercially focused technical and Financial advice that we have honed over the years to catalyse private sector investment in the smallholder market,” continues Banda. “Our business model involves the provision of technical support to build the capacity of the private sector; ultimately this will develop an information-based business model.
“We work closely with our stakeholders, placing emphasis on the private sector companies that are completely committed to working closely with those in rural and less affluent areas across Zambia.
The Company is wholly dedicated to investing in the provision of a service that builds value added relationships between corporate and smallholder sectors in Zambia, and for Agribusiness to provide not only market opportunities to smallholder farmers but also the knowledge and confidence to enable them maximise those opportunities. The company also supports innovative market-based solutions to some of Zambia’s environmental challenges and strives to ensure women are key participants in and beneficiaries of improved agricultural markets.
Over the past few years, while Musika’s interest has been focused on improving the entire agricultural market system, our work has been within the four key market components namely, input market, output, service market and finance market. Musika has a national coverage with regional offices in Kasama servicing Muchinga, Northern and Luapula Provinces, Chipata Eastern Province, Mongu Western Province, Kabwe covering Central, Copperbelt, Lusaka and North Western Provinces, Choma Southern Province, and with its Headquarters in the capital city Lusaka.
Musika continues to work in order to fundamentally change the way in which the markets operate and engage with marginalised groups, something that has been achieved through the Making Markets Work for the Poor (M4P) approach.
“From where we stand we are committed to see a more functional Agriculture Market that benefits all the key stakeholders, including sustaining structural and economical changes taking place in the Zambian agriculture Sector,” adds Banda. “With this in mind we aim to target clients in the agriculture market to ensure that our clients are in the perfect position for success.”
“Musika has a fully transparent and functional corporate governance structure comprising promoters and shareholders by guarantee drawn from Zambian agricultural related industry, Board of Directors and management and staff.”
The aforementioned institutions include Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ), Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART), Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI), Zambia Seed Traders Association (ZASTA) and the Bankers Association of Zambia (BAZ).
“Our actions in part are monitored by our six key Zambian agriculture-related institutions and a Board of Directors that enables us to operate as a non-profit entity.”
“Our operations are managed by a local team that have worked tirelessly to achieve an accomplished record in agricultural market developments,” explains Banda. “We have an experienced Board of Directors that have emerged from the Zambian agricultural and business world that are supporting our operations, with prominent support from the Swedish Embassy in Lusaka.”
At present Musika is in the process of integrating a new strategy based on its revised operational strategy for the period of 2018 to 2021, replacing the 2012 to 2017 strategy which focused on input, output, service and finance markets.
Banda continues: “At Musika we have to deliver excellent service to our clients and to do that there is need to have highly professional and dedicated staff in place, all of which possess a unique set of skills to facilitate industry-based solutions in the Agriculture Sector. To achieve this, we have to invest significant time and resources in staff development both internally and externally over time.”
As the Company is still relatively young, its business model is experiencing significant growth and evolution with every passing year, thus teaching its staff to understand the unique market requirements. Musika is currently working with over 76 Agribusinesses and with over 2,500 intermediaries and impacting over 430,000 small scale farmers that are accessing improved markets across the country.
With thanks to the funding and support of the Swedish Embassy in Lusaka – as well as its other contributors – the Company has been able to make an extensive dent in the market for the better, having a positive impact on the agriculture industry as a whole.
“Our main perspective has and always will be based on the aim of developing services that are built on a cost-sharing basis with private sector organisations that lower risks to any project,” concludes Banda. “We support our partners in the establishment of their business models and provide them with the technical and financial assistance to lessen the initial risks of making initial investments in new geographies, new business models or new technologies.
“Moving forward we hope to continue on in this manner of success, seeing the full functionality of these relationships within the agriculture sector in Zambia and further afield. From a regional perspective we will continue developing our business unit to act as a stable entity that operates with both donor funding, while also achieving the generation of our own income.”