SPEECH BY MUSIKA MANAGING DIRECTOR, MR REUBEN BANDA, DURING THE COMMISSIONING OF SYLVA FOOD SOLUTIONS PROCESSING PLANT IN LUSAKA

HELD ON WEDNESDAY 4TH NOVEMBER, 2015

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-       THE CHAIRMAN OF SYLVA FOOD SOLUTIONS – MR BANDA

-       THE MANAGING DIRECTOR FOR SYLVA FOOD SOLUTIONS – MRS SYLVIA BANDA

-       MEMBERS OF THE PRESS,

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

MUSIKA IS DELIGHTED TO BE PART OF THIS SPECIAL OCCASION AT WHICH WE’RE WITNESSING THE COMMISSIONING OF SYLVA FOOD SOLUTIONS’ PROCESSING PLANT THAT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO POSITIVELY IMPACT THE LEVELS OF PRODUCTIVITY OF SMALLHOLDER FARMERS IN ZAMBIA.

MOST OF YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE OPERATIONS OF SYLVA FOOD SOLUTIONS AND THE CONTRIBUTION THAT THEY HAVE MADE IN THE PROCESSING INDUSTRY BY WORKING WITH RURAL PRODUCERS. BASED ON THEIR VAST EXPERIENCE IN PROCESSING INDIGENOUS FRUITS AND VEGETABLE PRODUCTS MOSTLY GROWN BY SMALL SCALE FARMERS, MUSIKA DECIDED TO PARTNER WITH SYLVA FOOD SOLUTIONS BY PROVIDING FINANCIAL AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT ON A COST SHARING BASIS TO FURTHER SCALE UP ITS PROCESSING AND FARMER OUTREACH CAPABILITIES.

THE SUPPORT THAT MUSIKA HAS PROVIDED TO SYLVA FOOD SOLUTIONS THROUGH OUR FUNDERS – THE SWEDISH EMBASSY IN LUSAKA AND THE UK GOVERNMENT’S DFID IN ZAMBIA – IS INTENDED TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO AN ASSURED OFF-TAKE MARKET THROUGH THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN INFORMATION BASED HORTICULTURAL OUTGROWER SCHEME. ABOVE ALL, THIS INTERVENTION IS AIMED AT EQUIPPING OVER 2,000 SMALLHOLDER FARMERS WITH TECHNICAL KNOWLEDGE AND TRAINING TO HELP THEM IMPROVE THEIR YIELDS, QUALITY OF THEIR FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CROP, AND LEARN HOW TO CORRECTLY PRESERVE THEM FOR THE MARKET. TO HELP STRENGTHEN ITS EXTENSION SERVICE SUPPORT, MUSIKA HAS PROVIDED THREE MOTORBIKES FOR THE COMPANY’S EXTENSION STAFF TO REACH OUT TO MORE FARMERS LIVING IN FAR FLUNG AREAS. MUSIKA HAS ALSO SUPPORTED SYLVA FOOD SOLUTIONS WITH EQUIPMENT WORTH $46,500 TO SCALE UP ITS OPERATIONS TO MATCH THE INCREASED SUPPLY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES THAT WILL BE COLLECTED FROM THE BULKING CENTERS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

AS A NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION THAT STIMULATES AND SUPPORTS PRIVATE INVESTMENT IN THE SMALLHOLDER MARKET, MUSIKA’S ROLE - AS WITH ALL ITS INVESTMENTS - IS TO DEMONSTRATE THE BUSINESS POTENTIAL THAT EXISTS IN THE SMALLHOLDER MARKET.

FOR MUSIKA, THIS INTERVENTION IS PART OF OUR POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGY THAT WILL HELP IN DIVERSIFYING THE SMALLHOLDER SECTOR WHILE ENSURING THAT WOMEN ARE KEY PARTICIPANTS IN IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL MARKETS. OUR BELIEF IS THAT WITH THE CORRECT TECHNICAL INFORMATION, GREATER ACCESS TO QUALITY INPUTS AND A READY MARKET, SMALLHOLDER FARMERS WILL BE MOTIVATED TO INVEST IN THEIR OWN PRODUCTION AND REALISE THE FULL BENEFITS FROM FARMING AS A BUSINESS.

ALSO OF PARTICULAR INTEREST TO MUSIKA IS THE PROSPECT OF INCREASING THE ACTIVE PARTICIPATION OF BOTH WOMEN AND THE YOUTH IN THE PRODUCTION OF A VARIETY OF HIGH-VALUE HORTICULTURAL CROPS AS AN ADDITIONAL SOURCE OF INCOME THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.

THEREFORE, OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH SYLVA FOOD SOLUTIONS IS VERY STRATEGIC TO WHAT WE WANT TO ACHIVIEVE AS AN ORGANISATION.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

AS A NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION THAT STIMULATES AND SUPPORTS PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTMENT IN THE SMALLHOLDER MARKET, ONE OF OUR CORE STRATEGIES IS SUPPORTING COMMODITY TRADERS, BUYERS AND PROCESSORS TO ESTABLISH LONG TERM COMMERCIAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH SMALLHOLDERS THAT INVOLVE NOT JUST COMMODITY MARKETING OPPORTUNITIES BUT A BUNDLED OFFERING OF ASSURED OFF-TAKE, ACCESS TO INPUTS AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, THE PROVISION OF EXTENSION SERVICES.

FROM PAST EXPERIENCE WITH SIMILAR INTERVENTIONS WE HAVE IMPLEMENTED WITH OTHER PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS, WE HAVE LEARNED THAT INVESTMENTS IN THE PROCUREMENT OF FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, AND PROCESSING PROVIDES STRONG MARKET OPPORTUNITIES FOR RURAL WOMEN.

AS I CONCLUDE, I WISH TO COMMEND SYLVA FOOD SOLUTIONS FOR THE WORK THAT YOU’RE DOING IN UPLIFTING THE LIVELIHOODS OF THE RURAL POOR. IT IS MY HOPE THAT YOU WILL SCALE-UP YOUR OPERATIONS EVEN BEYOND MUSIKA SUPPORT SO THAT MORE SMALLHOLDERS COUNTRYWIDE CAN BENEFIT FROM YOUR BUSINESS AND GRADUATE OUT OF POVERTY.

I THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOU ALL!