ZADT launches $12m facility

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Trust (ZADT) yesterday launched a $12 million revolving facility aimed at providing credit facilities to improve productivity and incomes of small holder farmers.

Herbert Makuwa, Zadt fund manager, said $3,5 million had already been disbursed from the Credit for Agricultural Trade and Expansion (Create) Fund at an interest at all-in cost of 11,5 percent per annum inclusive of draw-down and establishment fees.

He said the funds were currently being accessed through FBC Bank, NMB Bank and TN Bank.

“Create Fund credit facilities will be lent to agro dealers, contracting companies, processors, traders, transporters and wholesalers who can demonstrate viable business initiatives with clear and direct linkages to small-holder farmers,” said Makuwa.

ZADT hopes to revive of the country’s agricultural sector which contributed 20,4 percent of the Gross Domestic Product last year and accounts for 40-50 percent of the country’s total export revenues.

The loans have a tenor of between three and 12 months with opportunity to roll over the facility once.

Pfungwa Kunaka, principal director in the ministry of Finance, added that plans were underway to come up with a three-year rolling agricultural financing strategy.

He said that the strategy sought to re-orient agriculture financing towards private sector financing, with government assuming the role of creating an enabling environment as well as assist the disadvantaged vulnerable farmers.

To ensure that smallholder farmers are protected from corruption tendencies and profiteering through the value chain, Zadt chairperson Soneni Ncube said they had put in place mechanisms to ensure protection of vulnerable small-holder farmers.

“We will conduct impact assessments to ensure that the ultimate beneficiary, that is the small-holder farmer, is protected and also enjoy the benefits of this fund.

“We have hard working farmers and I hope through this fund we will be catalytic in unleashing their energies for the benefit of their households and the agricultural sector,” said Ncube.

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