MUSIKA, a non-governmental organization that supports commercial relationships between upstream and downstream actors, is supporting Zambeef’s US$800,000 smallholder cattle development project in Northern Province with the delivery of a new Toyota Hilux that will be used in implementing the farming project. The scheme is aimed at increasing animal productivity among small-scale farmers in the region, and the vehicle from Musika is intended to bolster Zambeef’s smallholder cattle development project in Mbala where the company already has infrastructure and staff on the ground including a vet and animal disease specialists and trainers. Zambeef’s head of marketing and corporate affairs Felix Lupindula said Musika’s investment had strengthened the private sector projects by providing logistical support that would help to improve the efficiency and scope of such farming ventures. He said Musika’s core strategy was to support commodity traders, buyers and processors to establish long-term commercial relationships with smallholders involved in not just commodity marketing opportunities but access to inputs, new technologies and the provision of extension services to small-scale farmers. “Zambeef seeks to improve the breeding and productivity of the livestock in the northern area through education and training of farmers in matters concerning disease control and general management of livestock,” he said. Mr Lupindula said Zambeef would effectively train small-scale farmers on deworming, dipping cattle, branding and vaccination, and also bring in exotic breeds of cattle to breed with the local cattle through insemination. He said it was vital for local livestock farmers to understand productivity of the livestock in order to be effective. And Musika managing director Reuben Banda said the partnership between Musika and Zambeef was intended to increase animal production in the northern circuit, and Musika was taking advantage of what Zambeef had already invested in. “Zambeef has an abattoir in Mbala and we want to use Mbala as a learning curve and expand to outlying districts, so the whole idea is to ensure that we increase animal population in northern Zambia,” he said. Under the same investment project, Musika is also donating several motorbikes that would be used in the training and education of small-scale farmers in best farming practices in the northern region, and estimated that over 500 farmers would participate in the cattle supply chain once it was fully operational. Zambeef’s abattoir in Mbala is used as a base for developing a robust smallholder livestock supply chain. With this abattoir and others established nationwide, value-adding facilities and distribution network, farmers could tap into markets that might otherwise be unavailable.