Agric body pushes for information centre

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THE African Rural Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA) is pushing for the establishment of a centre of excellence, the Africa Green Revolution Forum (AGRF), to house information on agriculture to be shared among African members.

BY TARISAI MANDIZHA

AFRACA is a regional association of Sub-Saharan financial and non-financial institutions involved in promoting rural and agricultural finance. In Zimbabwe, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Agribank and CBZ are members.

Speaking at the three-day Regional Rural and Agricultural Finance Thematic Conference yesterday, Knowledge Management
Partnership representative John Kashangaki said there was huge demand for agricultural products both processed and unprocessed
and a gap between knowledge and its application.

“The changing African and global context requires new approaches, tools and new learning and that need to develop effectiveness depends on improved knowledge capabilities,” Kashangaki said.

Kilimo Trust project officer Henry Mwololo said the centre should be a thought leader.

Farming preps in Mutawata-recently.

Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System representative Stella Masawe said the centre should allow information sharing and also look at the incentives that should be given to people who want to share information.

“What incentives do we give them to want to share information? We need to be sure we can produce value-added products. We should allow sharing of success stories and also failures,” Masawe said.

Speaking at the same event, Food and Agriculture Organisation Zimbabwe international rural finance officer Paul Mayanja said knowledge management was critical for the development of the agricultural sector and to look after markets and how others were doing as far as marketing their products was concerned.

Mayanja said lack of information was a big challenge to Africa and this had resulted in banks shunning rural communities.

“Few financial institutions are willing to invest in the rural areas, but most of the population leaves in rural areas so we need to do something about it,” he said.