In 2008 iDE partnered with CETZAM Financial Services PLC, a microfinance institution operating in Zambia, to develop an agricultural loan product suitable for iDE smallholder farmers which would allow them to purchase micro-irrigation technologies and other agricultural assets to improve their incomes and livelihoods. More than three years later, the iDE-CETZAM model serves as a best practice example of an effective and sustainable approach to agricultural microfinance that is stimulating growth and income generation in rural Zambia, with total disbursements at 8.2 billion Kwacha (over US $1,500,000).
To date, over 2,820 loans had been provided over the prior 15 months, with an astounding loan recovery rate of 97.2%. To tap into this potential, CETZAM has expanded operations and opened 13 satellite offices in Southern, Lusaka, Central and Copperbelt Provinces, with plans to expand further this year. iDE Zambia believes that this approach can be successful not only in Zambia, but in other Southern African countries where low population density, long distances, poor transportation networks and low income levels act collectively to limit poor rural people's access.