In 2004, the outbreak of the Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) decimated the livestock population in Kazungula and Mwandi Districts of Southern and Western provinces respectively.
The loss of livestock due to CBPP increased the vulnerability of smallholder farmers who depend on animal draught power for agricultural production, milk sales for household incomes and nutrition security.
In July 2019, ZayoHub submitted the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance Project proposal to the Rural Finance Expansion Programme (RUFEP) to co-finance the Livestock Finance pilot in Mwandi and Kazungula Districts which was approved and financed with a grant agreement of 10th February 2020.
Funded by Transform Project and Vitol Foundation with co-financing from RUFEP, the project aims to increase livestock ownership among smallholders in the target areas.
The co-financing from RUFEP for the project came under the Rural Finance Equity and Innovation Window III of the Innovation and Outreach Facility (IOF) matching grants for pilots in financial product development.
Mafisa is a local traditional practice where a person with a herd of cattle entrusts another person (usually vulnerable and without any livestock) to take care of their animals and is paid or rewarded with an animal or more after an agreed period of time.
ZayoHub’s Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance Project borrows from this traditional practice with some modifications to suit the project objectives.
The Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance pilot project targets to cover 150 smallholder farmers in Magumwi area under Chief Imonga, Lipumpu area under Chief Nsando in Mwandi District and Sikaunzwe area under Chieftainess Sekute in Kazungula Districts.
The project further aims to improve the indigenous breeds through cross breeding with exotic breeds such as Boran and Tuly to improve disease resistance, meat quality and milk production.
On the 1st December 2020, RUFEP and the Rural Finance Unit of the Ministry of Finance conducted field visits to assess progress of the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance Project by ZayoHub in Lipumpu and Sikaunzwe areas and to document testimonies from project beneficiaries.
Speaking during the field visit in Lipumpu, Mafisa Project Manager and Livestock Specialist Yobe Banda said the target beneficiaries were clustered and grouped into three categories according to the number of cattle they possessed.
Mr. Banda said beneficiaries were expected to take care of the animals for a period of 5 years according to the number received per category and later pay back to the project for sustainability.
“In the first category, a person with less than 5 animals receives 1 pregnant heifer while a person with 6-10 animals fall in the second category and receives 3 pregnant cows. Beneficiaries in this category choose one person to be given the bull. Category three is for people with 11 or more cattle and is for mentors with experience in livestock management,” he said
Speaking on behalf of the Community, Induna Siyambwe Mulonda Lipumpu thanked ZayoHub and RUFEP for the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance project which has empowered the community in Lipumpu with infrastructure for livestock management.
Induna Lipumpu urged ZayoHub to extend the project to other areas so that more people could benefit from the initiative.
The project also targets to empower vulnerable women as beneficiaries. Christina Simasiku, a widow in Sikaunzwe area in Kazungula district disclosed that following the death of her husband, she became vulnerable.
Ms. Simasiku said she was grateful that the project identified her as a vulnerable and empowered her with livestock.
Eustace Chabalala is another beneficiary in Sikaunzwe Area in Kazungula District. Mr. Shabalala received 3 cows and a bull from the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance project.
“All the three cows I received have already calved giving me a heifer and two bulls. My vision is to ensure that I multiply these animals in the years to come”, he said.
In 2004 when the Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) broke out in Kazungula District, Mungole Kawana lost all his 300 herds of cattle.
Narrating his ordeal during the field visit, Mr. Kawana said when he lost all his cattle, he lost his source of livelihood as a smallholder farmer who depended on livestock for a living.
“I had to till the land using my hands which reduced my agricultural productivity. I lost income from milk sales and this increased my vulnerability to poverty” he said.
Later, with a bit of savings from his meagre income from rudimentary farming without animal draught power, Mr. Kawana bought three cows which he nurtured and has multiplied to a sizeable herd.
When ZayoHub came to Sikaunzwe area in Kazungula District, Mr. Kawana was identified as a mentor for the community with more than 11 animals. He is one of the beneficiaries of the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance Project.
Mr. Kawana surrendered part of his land to the Mafisa Bond Livestock Finance project to drill a borehole to provide water for animals and to build a spray race for the community to dip their animals.
Meanwhile, ZayoHub engaged AfricaPride to provide livestock insurance cover for all the animals from Zayohub.
Zayohub Partnerships Manager Constance Chibiliti disclosed that ZayoHub further engaged AfricaPride to consider providing insurance products to smallholder farmers.
She thanked RUFEP for the support to the project which was channeled to provision of veterinary services and training of smallholder farmers on livestock management.
Through pilot products like Livestock Financing, rural smallholder farmers can also be targeted to adopt livestock insurance to reduce their vulnerability and to promote rural financial inclusion. Through such innovations and pilots, the Rural Finance Expansion Programme is hopeful that Financial Service Providers could develop products tailored to the needs of rural people that could be scaled up for rural outreach.