Financial institutions have been urged to ensure timely disbursement of loans to farmers under the Agriculture Credit Window for increased productivity and guarantee of repayment of debts.
Agriculture Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Green Mbozi, said this in Lusaka on Wednesday during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The agreement was signed between Indo Zambia Bank (IZB), government and the Zambia Credit Guarantee Scheme to operationalise the Sustainable Agriculture Financing Facility (SAFF).
He said the timely disbursement of loans to farmers would enable them to plant their crops on time, leading to improved yields and loans repayment.
“The point here is that, with climate change agriculture has become more challenging, therefore each time we have rains, farmers have to plant and do the application of the fertilisers within this shortest time because we do not know when these rains will disappear.
“I wish we should also move with the same speed to ensure that we do not unnecessarily delay these farmers because they are trusting this rain which is so erratic right now,” he said.
Mbozi further urged beneficiaries to repay their loans as this would ensure sustainability and allow for the expansion of the total package farmers may borrow in the coming seasons.
Speaking earlier, IZB General Manager, Godwin Ngoma, said the institution with SAFF would have an avenue to make its due contribution towards addressing the challenges most farmers had been facing in accessing the necessary financial support.
Ngoma hoped that the MoU with the Ministry of Agriculture would be a long standing one founded on shared values of spurring economic activity and making the nation self-reliant and food secure.
“I further wish the SAFF beneficiary Small Holder farmers a bumper Harvest and believe that the MoU we will execute today will take them and the sector to the next level of growth and prosperity.
“We also wish to acknowledge the support and facilitation of the Zambia Credit Guarantee Scheme for creating the synergy with us that has enabled our structured participation,” he said.
Ngoma is convinced that the partnership would flourish for many years because IZB values were aligned with the government’s developmental aspirations.
“This year, IZB will be celebrating 40 years of our existence and our commitment to the nation has never been greater, so we will continue to reaffirm our focus to supporting the development of Zambia through development-oriented initiatives and partnerships that support business start-ups and the growth of the MSMEs.
“The MoU we shall be executing today is yet another,” he said.
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