115 farmers trained on accessing finance
Edgar Vhera Agriculture Specialist Writer
AS efforts to make smallholder agriculture more sustainable intensify, the Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Trust (ZADT) has committed to train farmers countrywide on access to finance with 115 from Marondera having so far been trained.
ZADT’s move will complement the Government’s thrust to achieve Vision 2030 vision of an empowered and prosperous upper middle-income society that accommodates all citizens and places. ZADT is a non-profit agricultural finance institution, which promotes inclusive access to finance for commercially oriented smallholder farmers.
In a recent X (formerly Twitter) post, ZADT said it recently conducted an access to finance training for dairy and beef farmers at Dawnview Farm in Ward 3, Marondera, under a Sida-funded Creating Adaptive Unique Systems for Access to Finance for Women and Youth (Causeway) project.
“We have learnt that access to finance is crucial for dairy and beef farmers in Zimbabwe’s Agri-Value chain, as it enables them to invest in modern farming techniques, particularly quality inputs to expand operations,” said the post.
ZADT communications officer, Miss Karen Maturure said the two-day training sessions were integral in achieving the objectives of the Causeway project, which seeks to enhance access to finance for smallholder farmers as well as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to foster improved household incomes, employment and food security.
The other objectives of the training are to enhance participants’ knowledge and understanding of various financing options available, improve financial management skills, assist in developing comprehensive business plans, facilitate networking and collaboration and provide practical tools and guidance to overcome challenges in accessing finance among others, she said.
From the 115 trained farmers, 70 percent are women. The majority of them are involved in the dairy, beef, small livestock, horticulture and grain value chain as well as feed production and had no prior training on access to finance.
At the end of the training entrepreneurial women and youths of Marondera indicated their willingness to acquire loans valued at around US$150 000.
Miss Maturure said her organisation started the training in December last year, adding that they would cascade to all provinces in the coming months. The training is done after implementing partners and private sector players identify a gap that needs to be addressed to make farmers creditworthy.
Dawnview Cattle Ranch identified a gap among beef and dairy farmers to be addressed, hence this event.
The Causeway is a three-year project that targets over 12 000 direct beneficiaries in the implementing provinces of Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands and Mashonaland East.
Targeted groups include women, both out-of-school and in-school youths in tertiary agricultural education institutions plus in and out of school start-up and growth-oriented youths.
The project targets inclusive and sustainable development of beef/dairy, non-timber forestry products, small livestock, poultry, traditional grains, oil seeds and horticulture value chains. The training sessions are designed to impart knowledge and enhance skills in key areas for the growth of agribusiness MSMEs.