Musika Receives ZMK100 Billion From UK and Sweden to help 250,000 Smallholder Farmers

FundsOn Wednesday, 10th October 2012, Musika signed a ZMK100 billion four-year joint financing agreementwith the United Kingdom and Sweden. Musika will use this support to carry out its mandate of stimulating private sector investment in the smallhoder market, such as working with the agricultural input suppliers to help tham develop distribution networks that provide 250, 000 smallholder farmers with inputs and the information needed to use them. Musika will also work with crop and livestock buyers to provide supportive and transparent markets to 100, 00 farmers and will promote access to commercial services such as veterinary services and mechanised land preparation that are key to increasing smallholder productivity.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Mr. Kevin Quinland, Head of DFID's Office in Zambia said that, "poor rural zambians cant be expected to wait for growth to trickle down. Hence DFID will support Musika and the Government of Zambia to make agricultural input markets work better for the poor." Mr. quinlan explained how higher crop yields mean more money in people's pockets, saying that, "Musika will make a big difference in getting 250, 000 smallholders onto the first rung of commercial farming. As the UK Government, we are proud to work with Musika and Sweden to support this."

Having supported Musika since November 2011 when it was perceived as a 'high risk' initiative due to its new and untested status at the time, Mr. Per Lundell, Head of Development cooperation at the Swedish Embassy in Lusak said, "a year later, Musika is now seen as a high potential programme. With the additional support from DFID, i feel confident that Musika will not only deliver results for smallholders but also become a programme that others can learn from."

Mr. Guy Robinson, Chairperson of the Musika Board of Directors thanked the UK and Sweden for their support and assured all stakeholders that, "Musika is very aware of the stubbornly high rates of poverty that continue to beset Zambia's rural areas. We are, however, confidentthat with the generous support of both DFID and the Swedish Embassy, Musika will be able to exceed expectations and successfully deliver special brand of support to the agricultural sector and in so doing, meaningfully impact on the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Zambian Farmers."

As part of the joint financing agreement, the UK Govenment through its Department for International Development (DFID) is investing up to K40 billion ($8 million) in Musika. Sweden has already invested K30 billion (40 million SEK) from November 2011 and plans to invest another K30 billion in Musika over the coming 2-3 years.