AgriTrade Moves Fresh Vegetables to Urban Areas
LOWER GWERU, Zimbabwe – Samuel Msipa, 59, is a popular figure at fruit and vegetable markets in and around Gweru in Midlands Province. Vendors at Kudzanayi and Kombayi markets know him as “the man who brings fresh tomatoes, carrots, potatoes and other vegetables” and supplies the Gweru urbanites. A simple walk with him across the breadth of the markets is punctuated by stops and starts for deliveries, order-taking, and responses to various queries and requests from his clients – the vendors.
An AgriTrade loan helped Samuel Msipa buy more produce to serve more customers, supply more market stalls, and grow his capacity as an agro-trader.
“As you can see there is a great demand for the produce I bring here,” boasts Msipa. “I am just glad I am now able to do more than I was doing a month ago.” With a boost from the AgriTrade loan facility, which gave him a loan of $1,500 three weeks earlier, Msipa says he has experienced “instant and significant growth” in his agro-trading venture.
“I went from buying tomatoes with $50 at a time when I was using my own limited resources, to buying $800 worth of tomatoes using the money I borrowed from AgriTrade, and this has enabled me to serve more customers, supply more market stalls, and grow my capacity as an agro-trader,” Msipa says.
Msipa buys vegetables from production areas such as Chegutu. Chegutu is a small town north of Lower Gweru where small holder farmers that grow tomatoes are happy to have him as a ready market offering competitive prices. Msipa got his loan through MicroKing a microfinance institution participating in the AgriTrade credit scheme.
AgriTrade is a $10 million revolving credit facility serving the agricultural sector. Local financial institutions, CABS, Trust Bank, and MicroKing Finance established the facility with 50 percent of the funds coming from USAID. AgriTrade assists hundreds of small and medium-size agribusinesses involved in communal agriculture, resulting in millions of dollars of new investment. AgriTrade loans range from $1,000 to $200,000. To date, AgriTrade had disbursed more than $3.5 million in loans to 499 borrowers.
AgriTrade is part of Zim-AIED, which is funded by USAID and implemented by Fintrac; IRD manages AgriTrade under a subcontract to Fintrac.