BY LORRAINE MUROMO FORMER Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) board chairperson Basil Nyabadza says Zimbabwe’s agricultural financing needs an overhaul because banks and other financial institutions were letting down farmers.
Nyabadza said the country would continue to experience food insecurity challenges because farmers were facing difficulties in accessing capital to boost production.
The country is currently facing food shortages due to poor harvests following erratic rains.
“We have serious challenges as we fight hunger in our nation. Food security is the first line of defence to our nation. We have serious challenges with our financing options as a nation. The farmers in this country are finding it difficult to access financing,” Nyabadza said.
He was addressing delegates and journalists during a wheat expo hosted by the Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services and the Lands and Agriculture ministry in Rusape yesterday,
“The current funding structures are not working for the Zimbabwean farmer. We need venture capital to come in, where the farmer from day one must join the bank and the bank also takes risk on the crop and we move together until we graduate the farmer,” Nyabadza said.
“We need banks to come in with venture capital, skills and technical support and the farmer then graduates. We must feed ourselves as a nation. Farming is about yesterday, today and tomorrow.
“Unless and until we address those reasons, I am afraid we will have challenges. Funding is critical to our farming. The farmer takes risks from day one believing that a number of things will take place. The farmer takes many risks, chief among them is the cost of money, access to inputs.”
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Agricultural Advisory and Rural Development Services chief director Obert Jiri said farmers were struggling to access capital owing to lack of collateral.
“The country’s financing system needs an overhaul as far as supporting agriculture is concerned. Since the land reform, most of our collateral is not really bankable. We are working towards that,” Jiri said.
“I would not say the financing system is not functional because we have banks such as CBZ Bank that have been supportive.”
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