Rafael Fazenda Muramua 42 years old, is one from fourteen (14) Agrodealers engaged by the Otumiha project in Cuamba District. Rafael was born in Lurio locality very close to one of the largest rivers in Northern Mozambique. Due to the political instability during his youth he did not have chance to carry-on with his studies and still completed Grade 7.

For many years Rafael was growing cotton as his main cash crop and reached a position of promotor (lead farmer) within the cotton network.

However, cotton yields and prices were not enough for his liking and decided to expand into trading. Initially he was trading in second hand clothing which he considered to be very laborious and not very profitable due to very high local competition.

In 2012, Rafael engaged into a new business as retailer in a small shop located in Lurio. With 60.000 MZN (about USD 1,000) he made from a good year of cotton production and additional support from PROMER, an IFAD funded project, he was able to rehabilitate and improve his general trading shop, and invest in buying stock of different products such as food, hygienic products, farm tools, etc.

With his general trading business life improved but it was not enough to support his family with 7 school age kids.

In October 2018 a representative from JFS Cotton Company contacted Otumiha looking for partnership to sell Agricultural Inputs in the cotton concession zones in Cuamba. Otumiha accepted the invitation and engaged seven new Agrodealers with established businesses as local traders. Rafael was one of them.

Because of the good location of his shop, Rafael was the first being contacted and accepted the business challenge and dedicated a small unused side shop for this activity.

Through Otumiha (AGMARK) intervention, Rafael benefited from applied training in save use of agro-chemicals, product knowledge, business management including record keeping and basic accounting. After that he applied and benefited from a matching grant for the acquisition of stock amounting to USD 350 (about 21,000 MZN). As his contribution for the matching grant he not only allocated the shopping space, but also a new counter, shelves, and the stock of farm tools.

With the project support, he introduced stock, and well as purchase and sales control systems.

An important activity as an Agrodealer is the establishment of Demonstration Plots to promote the materials he sells. In 2018/19 after contacts with K2-Klein Karoo Seed Company and Yara Fertilizers, Rafael made is farm available and demonstration plots of maize, soybean and balanced blended fertilizers were established. Among the improved varieties demonstrated maize hybrids appeared to be very promising.

As a result from all his investments and the good quality of his work, in January 2019, Rafael received an in-kind credit of agricultural inputs from the cotton company to the value of 255.000 MZN (USD 4,000) to benefit mainly cotton farmers.

Rafael also negotiated an agreement with Casa do Agricultor which enables him to benefit from the 10% discount given to established (enrolled) Agrodealers and to place orders via telephone to a shop about 250 km away (in Nampula) and get it delivered within a week after the order.

Presently Rafael serves more than 1000 clients in the village of Lúrio and neighboring Mutuali who buy agricultural inputs and other products.