Bank disburses US$63m for agric season

Livingstone Marufu
AGRIBANK has disbursed over $62,4 million under various facilities for the 2017-2018 summer cropping season as part of efforts to increase agricultural production.

Source: Bank disburses US$63m for agric season | The Sunday Mail Nov 19, 2017

The bank, which has since been directed by Government to revert to its core mandate of supporting the agriculture sector with finance, targets to avail $70 million in loans to farmers this season. Agribank chief executive officer Mr Sam Malaba told The Sunday Mail last week that the bank was refocusing its operations on providing affordable loans to farmers

He said the financial institution had partnered the Central Bank in the loan facilities that attract a 10 percent interest and are payable within 12 months for working capital and up to 36 months for capital expenditure.

“A special TIMB $28 million tobacco facility will support small holder tobacco farmers,” said Mr Malaba.

“The uptake of the RBZ and Agribank Value Addition and Business Linkages Facility to Farmers and Agro Processers has been good and under this $10 million facility, the bank has disbursed US$9,4 million.

“These funds have supported farmers and entities who are involved in value addition to crops such as tomatoes, groundnuts, peas, tea, coffee and poultry production.

“Under the horticulture facility, approvals worth $3,4 million have been processed.

Mr Malaba said the export facility had seen $6,1 million being released for farmers who are in flower, fruit and vegetable production as well as cotton value addition.

The banking sector has pledged to set aside $1,1 billion for the summer cropping season.

For years, farmers have failed to access funds from financial institutions to boost agricultural production. Concerns have, however, been raised by the farmers over the high interests rates on the funds with some banks demanding an average 15 percent per annum.