AgriTrade Loan Helps Woman-owned Business Thrive
HARARE, Zimbabwe – A year ago, business at Cassandra Magwere’s butchery teetered on the brink. Saddled with challenges of maintaining stocks and the costly sourcing of cattle, the butchery was barely breaking even. Magwere said hanging in there was all she could do for her business to continue operating. “It was tough,” said the 44-year-old businesswoman.
Cassandra Magwere’s butchery is thriving thanks to two AgriTrade loans. She now has plans to expand her business.
Then the AgriTrade credit facility came along, and her stocking woes became a thing of the past “almost overnight”, she said. Magwere is a second time borrower from the AgriTrade facility, which began operations in May 2011. She received her first loan of $1,500 in September, 2011, and her second one of the same amount came in January, 2012.
“The most significant benefit that has come from the loans for us has been stocking consistency,” said Magwere, adding that previously stock-outs were deterring repeat business. After being told her stock was out too often, many of Magwere’s customers stopped buying from the butchery. “There wasn’t much we could do at the time, because we could not afford to buy that many cattle at any given time,” Magwere said.
What also affected Magwere’s situation was that she did not have adequate working capital to buy from abattoirs that were closer to her butchery. Now that she has more capital, Magwere can afford to do away with middle men and venture out into the rural areas and buy her cattle directly from the communal farmers.
With capitalization through AgriTrade, Magwere is buying at least two cattle a week. With the first loan she was purchased 24 cattle from communal farmers in Murewa, Marondera, and Hwedza. She expects her second loan to get her more or less the same number. Magwere currently sells 25 kg of beef a day and realizes a daily sales average of $350. “Our livelihoods have improved and so have those of the farmers I buy from and for my four employees,” Magwere said.
With business this good, Magwere is planning on opening another butchery at a second location.
AgriTrade is part of ZIm-AIED, which is funded by USAID and implemented by Fintrac; IRD manages AgriTrade under a subcontract to Fintrac.