REMARKS BY MUSIKA MANAGING DIRECTOR, MR REUBEN BANDA, DURING THE LAUNCH OF PIONEER DUPONT’S ZAMBIA ADVANCED MAIZE SEED ADOPTION PROGRAMME (ZAMSAP) HELD IN LUSAKA ON TUESDAY 16TH FEBRUARY, 2016

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-       THE MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE, HONOURABLE GIVEN LUBINDA MP

-       THE MINISTER OF GENDER AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT, HONOURABLE NKANDU LUO MP

-       THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA AT DUPONT PIONEER – MR PRABDEEP BAJWA

-       REPRESENTATIVES OF PARTNER ORGANISATIONS INCLUDING THOSE FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR

-       DISTINGUISHED INVITED GUESTS,

-       MEMBERS OF THE PRESS,

-       LET ME SIMPLY SAY ‘ALL PROTOCOLS’ OBSERVED,

HONOURABLE MINISTERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

WE ARE EXTREMELY DELIGHTED TO BE PART OF THIS INGENIOUS EFFORT BY DUPONT PIONEER – WORKING WITH THE ZAMBIAN GOVERNMENT THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND THE MINISTRY OF GENDER AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT – TO ENHANCE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF SMALLHOLDER FARMERS BY EXPOSING THEM TO APPROPRIATE AGRICULTURAL TECHNOLOGIES, AND PROVIDING THEM WITH PRIVATE-LED EXTENSION SERVICE AND MARKET FACILITATION SUPPORT.

THIS PARTNERSHIP CLEARLY DEMONSTRATES THE INCREASING NEED BY DIFFERENT STAKEHOLDERS TO COME TOGETHER AND FIND SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS TO PRODUCTIVITY CHALLENGES THAT CONTINUE TO HINDER GROWTH AND CONTRIBUTE TO INCREASING POVERTY LEVELS ESPECIALLY WITHIN SMALLHOLDER COMMUNITIES IN ZAMBIA.  

THE LACK OF ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE, PRODUCTIVITY-ENHANCING INPUT TECHNOLOGIES HAS BEEN IDENTIFIED AS ONE OF THE MAIN FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR LOW SMALLHOLDER PRODUCTIVITY AND, EQUALLY AS CRITICALLY, THE KNOWLEDGE TO UTILISE THESE TECHNOLOGIES.

TRADITIONALLY, THE FACT THAT THE SMALLHOLDER MARKET IS HIGHLY SCATTERED WITH LOW SPENDING POWER AND WITH SUCH A SHORT DEMAND PERIOD FOR INPUTS HAS DICTATED AGAINST INVESTMENT BY AGRICULTURAL RETAIL FIRMS BUT FORTUNATELY WE ARE INCREASINGLY SEEING COMPANIES MAKING STRIDES TO MEET THE INPUT AND INFORMATION DEMANDS OF THE SMALLHOLDER MARKET

AND THAT IS WHERE WE COME IN. AS A NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION THAT STIMULATES AND SUPPORTS PRIVATE INVESTMENT IN THE SMALLHOLDER MARKET, MUSIKA ASSISTS IN REDUCING THE EARLY-STAGE RISK OF INVESTMENT FOR FIRMS LIKE DUPONT PIONEER. WE DO THIS BY SHARING SOME OF THE HIGH COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH ESTABLISHING ‘LAST MILE’ BUYING POINTS IN ISOLATED AREAS, TRAINING AND DEPLOYING A WELL-EQUIPPED AND TRAINED EXTENSION STAFF.    

IN ALL OUR OPERATIONS WE ENDEAVOUR TO HAVE WOMEN AND THE YOUTH AS KEY PARTICIPANTS IN IMPROVED AGRICULTURAL MARKETS, AND THE ACTIVE PARTICIPATION BY THE MINISTRY OF GENDER IN THIS PARTICULAR CASE WILL HELP TO ACHIEVE THIS.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

THE SUPPORT THAT MUSIKA HAS PROVIDED TO DUPONT PIONEER, THROUGH OUR FUNDERS – THE SWEDISH EMBASSY IN LUSAKA AND THE UK GOVERNMENT’S DFID IN ZAMBIA – HAS ENABLED THE COMPANY TO PROVIDE A COMPREHENSIVE AND INFORMATION-BASED ‘BUNDLED’ SERVICE TO THE SMALLHOLDER FARMERS.

MUSIKA BELIEVES THAT AS A RESULT OF THIS INTERVENTION, AN ENVIRONMENT IS CREATED WHERE FARMERS HAVE THE CONFIDENCE AND KNOWLEDGE TO INVEST IN THEIR PRODUCTION AND IMPROVE THEIR INCOMES THROUGH GREATER ACCESS TO PRODUCTIVITY ENHANCING TECHNOLOGIES. THIS IS IN ADDITION TO THE PRACTICAL TECHNICAL ADVICE THAT INCLUDES THE CORRECT USAGE OF THE SEED AND ASSOCIATED INPUTS LEADING TO HIGHER YIELDS, AND SUBSEQUENTLY CONTRIBUTING TO HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY.

AS A RESULT OF MUSIKA’S EFFORTS IN THE SECTOR, THE PERCEPTION BY THE PRIVATE SECTOR - THAT THE SMALLHOLDER MARKET OFFERS VERY LITTLE OPPORTUNITY FOR BUSINESS GROWTH - IS SLOWLY CHANGING. OVER THE YEARS, WE HAVE SEEN MORE AND MORE FIRMS EXPANDING THEIR OPERATIONS IN REMOTE AND COMMERCIALLY DIFFICULT AREAS, AND OFFERING ‘VALUE ADDITION’ SERVICES SUCH AS EXTENSION SERVICES SO THAT THE RELATIONSHIPS BECOME MORE SUSTAINABLE.

AS WE SPEAK, MUSIKA IS WORKING WITH OVER 60 PRIVATE SECTOR PARTNERS THAT ARE DOING BETTER BUSINESS WITH SMALLHOLDERS AS THEIR SUPPLIERS, CUSTOMERS AND CLIENTS. I AM HAPPY TO INFORM YOU THAT ABOUT 300,000 SMALLHOLDERS ARE BENEFITING FROM THE EFFORTS OF THE INPUT SUPPLIERS TO DEVELOP THE SMALLHOLDER MARKET

HOWEVER, THERE IS STILL A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE TO ENSURE THAT EVERY FARMER – MAN AND WOMAN - ACTIVELY CONTRIBUTES TO THE GROWTH OF ZAMBIA’S AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY AND BENEFITS FROM THAT GROWTH

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD AND MANAGEMENT OF MUSIKA, I WISH TO COMMEND DUPONT PIONEER FOR TAKING UP THIS ENORMOUS CHALLENGE, AND FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA FOR RECOGNISING THE PRIVATE SECTOR AS PARTNERS IN DEVELOPMENT.

I THANK YOU ALL!