Livingstone MarufuTHE National Social Security Authority is considering investing in agriculture in the forthcoming summer cropping season to u
Source: NSSA eyes investment in agriculture | The Sunday Mail August 21, 2016
THE National Social Security Authority is considering investing in agriculture in the forthcoming summer cropping season to unlock value for pensioners and other beneficiaries, it has been learnt.
Much of the investments will be through commitments in financial instruments such as agro bills that are usually issued by institutions like Agribank, CBZ and FBC.
Although NSSA, whose management was recently rejigged, could not give an indication of the amount that could be set aside for such investment, market rumours suggest it could be more than US$5 million.
NSSA chief social security officer Mr Henry Chivora said last week, “Our new executives, together with the board, are in the process of re-examining the organisation’s investments approach in order to maximise returns for pensioners and other beneficiaries.
“Certainly agriculture being a key driver of economic development and empowerment is high on the priority list. Though we haven’t yet come up with the actual figure (agricultural funding) due to new developments in the company.
“Concerted efforts should be directed towards sustaining sectors like agriculture to generate more revenue and employment and NSSA should play a role in assisting the Government to achieve this objective.
“NSSA will also work closely with various financial institutions to ensure that there is particular focus on empowerment of women in agriculture,” said Mr Chivora.
According to a 2014 World Bank survey, 80 percent of Zimbabweans depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and raw materials. Government and some private companies are planning huge investments in the sector this year.
While Government is pushing a US$500 million command agricultural policy, which is focused on supporting at least 200 commercial farmers, manufacturers like Cairns are lining up contract farming arrangements.
Also, Government has directed that with effect from June 30, 2016, banks should allocate 20 percent of their loan portfolios to smallholder farmers. There is new impetus to extending banking services to rural areas through the Agriculture and Rural Credit Policy.
Farmers have been failing to access funds owing to lack of collateral.