Zimbabwe: $ 100 million Ama Agro-Bill to finance farmers
The Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) has received all regulatory approvals to raise $ 100 million through agro-bills to support increased agricultural productivity.
The agro-bill will provide affordable financing to farmers in horticultural and oilseed production (cotton seeds, sunflower seeds, soybeans, peanuts and sesame).
The financial partners of the bill are AFC Commercial Bank.
Farmers who have registered with the Marketing Authority and meet other prescribed requirements will be eligible to receive agricultural loans under the facility.
WADA Director General Clever Isaya encouraged smallholder farmers across the country to take out the loan for maximum profitability from their horticultural agriculture.
“Finance is needed to increase agricultural productivity. The commercial success of horticulture depends on access to inputs, adherence to best practices and access to market information and knowledge. These are now easily accessible through advancement in technology, ”he said.
The initiative is part of WADA’s strategy to facilitate and structure finance through various instruments to support the production and marketing of agricultural products.
The loans are intended to promote the development of the horticultural sector as provided for in the horticulture recovery and growth plan. Improving access to affordable finance is one of the main drivers of the ongoing agricultural transformation process.
Horticulture is one vehicle the country can use to enter and exploit the high-value export market. Already, macadamia nuts, sweet potatoes, and avocados have proven to have high demand in the export market, and these can be grown with minimal resources.
It also improves the diet by providing a varied and nutrient rich diet which is essential for a balanced diet.
The presidential rural horticulture program has already laid a solid foundation for harnessing rural agricultural potential. Interventions such as the provision of plant material to rural households for sweet potato and cassava, the establishment of village nutrition and income gardens and young orchards have helped to increase income and improve livelihoods.
The commercial success of horticulture depends on access to inputs, adherence to best practices and access to market information and knowledge. The latter is now easily accessible thanks to technological advances.
Experts say it is prudent for smallholder farmers across the country to apply for a loan to get maximum profitability from their horticultural activities.
The production outlook for the 2020/21 crop year shows a reversal of negative trends that have plagued cash crops in recent years.
The country expects a soybean crop of 71,000 tonnes, up from 48,000 tonnes the previous year, a change of 51 percent. Likewise, cotton and groundnuts also have high production projections compared to previous years.
This is a clear demonstration of the impact of several results-based programs implemented as part of the government’s agricultural recovery plan.
Smallholder farmers have a key role to play in complementing what is produced by commercial oilseed producers. Providing farmers with financial capacity will increase domestic production and provide a local and cheaper source of crude oil. This is a way for the country to guard against crude oil price shocks on the international market.
There is a lot that can be done to ensure the success of a small farmer. And financial access is a tool and an effective means of sustainably improving production.
Farm finance company Holdings and its subsidiaries, including land bank and risk insurance, must be sufficiently capitalized to provide financial services to all eligible farmers as outlined in the National Development Strategy 1.