AgriTrade Helps Small-scale Agribusiness Boom
CHEGUTU, Zimbabwe – AgriTrade, a component of the USAID-funded Zim-AIED project, aims to increase incomes and food security of smallholder farmers and generate income and rural employment for agribusinesses. Clapos Hove, who received an $11,000 loan through AgriTrade in July this year, has been able to buy 70 tons of maize from 100 communal farmers in Chegutu, located in the Mashonaland Central Province of Zimbabwe.
AgriTrade borrower Clapos Hove moves volumes on maize in order to realize a profit.
The loan has made it possible for Hove to buy maize in large volumes, making his business both viable and profitable. “The trick with maize lies in volumes. Without high volumes, the low profit
margins can make your business sink,” he said. Maize generally sells from $2.50 to $4.00 a bucket, each bucket weighing about 17kg. Hove buys maize from smallholder farmers in Zvimba, Msengezi, Zowa, and Runakasi villages and sells to companies such as Zim-AIED’s partner ProGroup, Colcom, Irvines, Delta, and Staywell.
Unlike in the past where members of these communities relied on the Grain Marketing Board, a state enterprise which had a monopoly in the industry, farmers are now assured of competitive prices from Hove. Where other buyers, that are not necessarily state players, buy communal farmers’ produce at $150 a ton, Hove stays competitive by farmers $180–220 per ton. Small-scale Agribusiness Booms Due to the expansion of his business, he has been able to employ nine workers. “We are very happy for AgriTrade’s support that has seen our business and work here increasing. It offers us more security in our jobs as employees,’ said Den Kakweza, one of Hove’s employees. “This selling season, with the funds from AgriTrade, I hope to realize a profit of up
to $6,000 which shows that my business is working positively for me,” Hove said, adding that this is 50 percent growth from last year same time.
Credit provided by the Agritrade component through Trust Bank, CABS, and MicroKing has provided the requisite capital injection for significant growth in incomes of rural agritraders. AgriTrade
loans range from $1,000 to $200,000. To date, the loan facility has disbursed over $3.5million to 499 borrowers across the country.
Zim-AIED is funded by USAID and implemented by Fintrac; IRD manages AgriTrade under a subcontract to Fintrac.