The Agribusiness Accelerate Initiative (AAI) is a programme by Musika, a non-profit company that stimulates and supports private investment in the Zambian agricultural market, with a focus on the smallholder and emerging farmer markets.
The programme seeks to develop and facilitate partnerships between public and private sector players with a view to consolidate and concentrate resources on building the capacity of the small rural businesses that are critical to the deepening and broadening of the agricultural sector. This is built on the notion that targeted and holistic trainings around agribusiness management is critical to enhancing performance of rural SMEs as a vehicle for rural job creation, improved incomes and diversification.
Musika in partnership with the Challenges Group Zambia signed off the AAI 2021 programme as a need has arisen to provide extended support to the same rural SME agribusinesses on the AAI programme, but targeting the gold category rural small businesses with specialised Business Development Service (BDS) mentoring and coaching on a one-on-one basis in order to build their business resilience, support them in sustaining their operations, safeguard their investment and create rural jobs. The model saw the involvement of District Marketing and Development Officers under the Ministry of Agriculture with the view that the training support being provided by Musika should be sustainable by incorporating the Ministry in an Agri-Private Public Partnership model to attain the much-needed sustainability of BDS training support in the agricultural market.
The AAI programme has had excellent results in terms of improving the overall performance and management of various agribusinesses. Furthermore, recommendations for Musika were made. Challenges Zambia recommend that Musika carried out detailed case studies to document the impact of AAI programme over the years. This can be used to make a business case for further support to these businesses in terms providing further support i.e. access to finance to support diversification, market linkages, adoption of computerized accounting systems etc.