KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
MUSIKA Development Initiative and the National Savings and Credit Bank (NatSave) have partnered to implement a one-year K2 million pilot project in Kalomo district to result in the sinking of 20 solar-powered boreholes to increase productivity of small- scale farmers.
The implementation of this financing scheme is aimed at increasing smallholder and emergent farmers’ access to water and irrigation solutions in Chief Chikanta’s area.
Last Friday, the two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to pilot the financing of water and irrigation solutions in the Chikanta chiefdom, which lies in a dry ecological zone with no perennial rivers and streams that run throughout the year.
The awareness and marketing of the financial product will be on a cost-shared basis between Musika and NatSave.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, NatSave managing director Cephas Chabu said 20 boreholes will be sunk to improve the capacity of farmers in growing of irrigated crops and provide enough water for livestock.
“It will enable farmers to diversify their production through extending the growing season beyond the rains.
“The total financial package is K2 million including after-sales services to the irrigation equipment, and financial literacy to the beneficiaries who will access the product through the NatSave Choma branch once they open savings accounts,” he said.
Musika managing director Reuben Banda said the financial intervention is an opportunity to farmers to grow and expand their farming enterprises.
Mr Banda said Musika understands that lending in such a market is untested and carries an element of unknown risk.
“But with our support and that of our partners, it is hoped that we can mitigate some of the risk. We remain optimistic that during the initial pilot of this intervention, NatSave will learn and understand the market and determine its own business case for scaling up lending into this market,” he said.
And Musika services and financial markets operations manager James Luhana said plans are underway to scale up the project beyond Kalomo to include other areas that experience deficiency in rainfall.