By Tendai Munengwa
THE Agriculture Finance Corporation (AFC) has floated Agro Bills as it seeks to raise zwl$20 billion to fund agricultural activities in the country.
The development has since been welcomed by stakeholders in the agriculture sector, who expect affordable capital to boost production.
The reactivation of Land Bank under AFC Holding is bearing fruit with thousands of farmers who were battling to secure loans expected to access affordable capital for production.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union Secretary-General, Paul Zakaria described the revitalisation of AFC as the panacea for farmers to get short, medium and long term loans to develop their farms.
“The fact that AFC is now active on the market to mobilize funding is welcome. Its re-emergence will go a long way to assisting farmers to access loans for infrastructure development, irrigation and dams among other critical components needed to boost productivity at farms. We hope like the former AFC we hope this new financial arm will embrace all farmers who wish to access loans for production,” said Zakaria.
Zimbabwe Agriculture Think Tank coordinator, Dickson Kubvakacha says the new agriculture financing thrust must ensure the availability of affordable loans to all categories of farmers.
“We thank President for bringing back this bank. We expect that like the former AFC this land bank must set the solid foundation for the land reform program to be a success in terms of production and empowering the black farmers.”
The Land Bank is expected to transform the agriculture sector after it received a government guarantee to avail loans to farmers who have been struggling to access credit lines owing to a lack of collateral.
The Agriculture Finance Corporation Holdings was launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last year as part of efforts by the new dispensation to assist farmers who were failing to access loans owing to stringent borrowing requirements by other financial institutions.
Launching the new look agricultural finance bank dubbed Land Bank, President Mnangagwa urged the financial institution to come up with loan packages that are friendly to the farmers.
He also called upon farmers to pay back their loans.
The land bank has been given a government guarantee, to support 50 thousand hectares of Maize and traditional grains and has so far dished out loans towards reviving smallholder irrigation schemes in various parts of the country.