ZIMBABWE Allied Banking Group (ZABG) says it has launched a commercial agricultural scheme aimed at facilitating interaction and linkages among players i
n the agricultural sector.
ZABG Agriculture Finance Unit head, Felix Mudanda, said AGRIWEB was an agro-based scheme that would see those who take part reaping benefits from relationships established through networking.
“The scheme (AGRIWEB) is expected to improve food security, increase foreign currency inflows through exports, enable skills transfer and enhance agricultural productivity,” said Mudanda. AGRIWEB would also “create an appetite” for other financial institutions to take part in the development of agriculture in the country.
In this scheme, ZABG is mandated to identify farmers who need support, engage the local leadership in areas of production, identify nucleus farmers to mentor new farmers, arrange financing for the farmers and offer agricultural advisory services.
Mudanda said the initial stages will concentrate on food crop production which will amount to 80% of total production, so as to ensure food security while the remainder will be catered for by foreign currency earning crops.
The bank has also worked on other similar projects which include linking Delta Beverages, John Sole (Pvt) Ltd and Kia Ora Irrigation Scheme, a 70ha barley growing project which saw ZABG coming in to provide finance and advisory services.
ZABG also facilitated a contract between a fruit and vegetable wholesale and Hartsol Investment (Pvt) Ltd owned by A1 farmers in Marondera. The farmers in the scheme will be growing crops all year with the assurance of a ready market.
ZABG has also been part of financiers of farmers through the RBZ-funded Agriculture Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility window benefiting crop and livestock farmers. The bank also recently created an agronomy section that provides technical backup to clients on both crop and animal production and also training of farmers.