Tawanda Mangoma in CHIREDZI
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) has challenged banks and mobile money agencies to reach out to farmers to help them open accounts ahead of the cotton and grain-buying season.
This comes as Government, through the Grain Marketing Board, said all payments for grain delivered would be made through banks.
In a move meant to address a possible payment model challenge, especially in the cotton sector, ZFU executive director Mr Paul Zakaria said farmers should open bank accounts which best suit prevailing operations in their areas.
Mr Zakaria said every farmer should be vested with the knowledge of plastic money, as this would ease demand for hard cash.
“We continue to urge banks and mobile money agencies to go out and help farmers open accounts,” he said. “As you are aware, most payments, be they of cotton, maize and sorghum will be contacted through the bank and our greatest call is for every farmer to open a bank account so as to transact swiftly.”
Some farmers said they were being discouraged by banks that were setting tough requirements for one to open an account. Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made has been making calls mainly for banks to be in rural areas helping farmers to open bank accounts.
A snap survey undertaken by The Herald in cotton growing areas in the Lowveld revealed that banks never visited the areas, a development likely to trigger payment problems, especially for cotton farmers.
Cotton Company of Zimbabwe southern region business manager Ms Marjorie Chaniwa said deliveries of cotton had started at some of the firm’s depots.