Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Farmers have been urged to approach financial institutions to find ways of repaying loans as the financed crops have failed due to drought. Due to the El Nino-induced drought, a number of farmers would not be able to fully pay back their loans. Zimbabwe Farmers Union director, Mr Paul Zakariya, last week said farmers should pay back their loans even during a drought.
“We will engage financial institutions on how best they can restructure loans to reach a win-win situation for the farmer and financier. “We encourage farmers to pay back loans, but looking at the current situation, the bulk of the crop has been badly affected by drought and is a write off. It is better for financial institutions to engage farmers and see how they can best restructure their loans.
“Most farmers including contracted farmers may not be able to service their debts. The cotton crop has been badly hit by drought and only few areas have a good crop. Maize and tobacco were also not spared by drought and this will affect yields,” he said.
Mr Zakariya said financial institutions could consider pushing the debts to next season. Zimbabwe National Farmers Union vice president, Mr Garikayi Msika, said Government should declare a national disaster for agriculture.
“Farmers should work with financial institutions to restructure loans because only a few will be able to settle their loans,” he said.