By ZBC Reporter
Government has approved the restructuring of Agribank (Pvt) Limited into a land bank to support the country’s Agriculture Recovery Plan which is aimed at ensuring food self-sufficiency for the country.
Addressing a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare this Tuesday, information minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa explained the development;
“Cabinet considered and approved the proposed remodelling of Agribank (Pvt) Limited. This is in view of the fact that agriculture, among other productive sectors, is crucial in realising Vision 2030 owing to its contribution to the economy and to national security. Cabinet noted that the establishment of vibrant and diversified rural financial services which are underwritten by a Land Bank or its equivalent will be an important step which the country should take in order to move towards upper middle income status. This is in view of the realisation that smallholder farmers comprising Communal, Old Resettlement, Small-Scale Commercial and A1 farmers constitute 99 percent of the farming population, holding up to 95 percent of the productive land and owning over 90 percent of the national livestock herd.
“Cabinet was informed that the remodeling of Agribank Pvt Limited as a dedicated Land Bank is expected to deliver a number of specific outputs. It will strengthen and diversify existing agricultural and rural financial services for sustainable agrarian reform for accelerated development. The bank will also provide investment support for A1, A2 and small scale commercial farmers (matenganyika) who have not been supported by commercial banks.
“It will link currently under-utilised land to structured markets and established value chains supplying factories, supermarkets and export markets and also provide working capital for the construction of agricultural infrastructure as well as for value addition and beneficiation enterprises.
“The financial institution will mobilize private sector finance in order to contribute to job creation, food security and social protection in rural communities.
“Cabinet agreed in more details as follows: (a) that Agribank be re-modelled and re-organised to perform the functions that the Agricultural Finance Corporation used to offer to farmers in the form of short, medium and long-term loans; and (b) that a Task Team comprising the Ministries of Finance and Economic Development (Chair); Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement; and Industry and Commerce; the Attorney-General’s Office and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe be set up to look into the modalities of reconfiguring Agribank into a Land Bank.”