Industry to meet 65pc of agricultural financing

Edgar Vhera

Agriculture Specialist Writer

CALLS by the Government for industry to secure at least 40 percent of their raw material requirements through value chain financing are getting receptive audiences, with various players now targeting to fund 65 percent of production this coming season.

The Agricultural and Rural Development Advisory Services (ARDAS) weekly report dated September 11 has hinted at a joint total of 3 million hectares of land to be put under maize, soya beans, sunflower, sorghum, pearl millet and cotton.

The Government alone under Pfumvudza/Intwasa programme will fund 35 percent of production.

The quartet of National Enhanced Agricultural Productivity Scheme (NEAPS), other banks, private sector and self-financed farmers are expected to account for 65 percent production sponsorship, said the report.

Under NEAPS, CBZ will fund the cultivation of maize and soya beans on 50 000 hectares, while AFC funds maize, soya beans, traditional grain and sunflower on 32 000 hectares.

The report revealed that main contractors — Staywell, PHI, Delta and Northern Farming under the aegis of the Food Crop Contractors Association (FCCA) would be the leading financiers under the private sector. FCCA will contract a joint total of 90 016 hectares comprising 44 226 of maize, 40 770 soya beans and 11 020 of sorghum.

CBZ Agro-Yield managing director Mr Walter Chigodora concurred, saying his organisation was targeting to do 20 000 hectares of maize under irrigation.

“We are planning to do maize on between 20 000 and 30 000 hectares to cushion dry land farmers in line with the predicted El Nino weather. Soya beans will occupy 10 000 to 15 000 hectares,” he said.

Mr Chigodora said distribution of inputs would start at the end of September.

He urged farmers who benefited under the scheme last season to ensure they repaid at least 70 percent of their debts to access fresh funding.

Oil Expressers Association of Zimbabwe chairman, Mr Busisa Moyo, recently hinted that the country’s focus was now on increasing local production of raw materials required for cooking oil production.

“Our members are set to increase soya bean production this coming season but I am not privy to their hectarage. United Refineries Limited (URL) will increase its area from last season’s 5 000 to 10 000 hectares. The country produced 75 000 tonnes of soya bean in the 2022/23 season up from 60 000 tonnes in the previous season,” he said.

At the inaugural World Cotton Day last year Mr Moyo said in 2021 they contracted 10 percent of their raw material needs due to limited finance for inputs, adding that their association was aiming to fund between 40 and 50 percent of their requirements by 2025 through negotiations with potential funders and financiers.

FCCA chairperson Mr Graeme Murdoch also added that their members had been increasing soya bean production over the past three seasons thereby helping slash the country’s export bill.

“Last season’s soya bean crop output was larger than those of previous years although it still fell short of meeting the national annual requirements. Our members planted a little over 30 000ha last season and eclipsed the pre-season target by 10 percent. For the 2023/24 season, they are targeting to plant between 30 000 and 35 000 hectares of soya bean while 20 000ha are expected from self-funded category,” said the FCCA chair.

 

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