Nyasha Mapasa Manicaland Correspondent
Government’s new conditions for farmers wishing to access funding for maize and soya bean under Command Agriculture will ensure the repayment of loans and improve food security, an official has said.
Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri issued a statement recently saying Government had entered into partnerships with Agribank, CBZ, Stanbic and Women’s Bank to manage and disburse funds for the programme, which would be guaranteed by Government.
In an interview with The Herald, Manicaland Agritex livestock and crops officer Mrs Phillipa Rwambiwa applauded the new conditions, saying it will improve food security by assisting A1 farmers.
“The programme will avail inputs through an electronic voucher system administered through the bank,” she said. “These banks shall support A1, A2 and other large-scale farmers into soya bean and maize production.”
Mrs Rwambiwa said the move will also help in the recovering the loans since repayments will be deducted as farmers deliver grain to the Grain Marketing Board.
“Also the fact that registration, vetting and contracting for production will be done by local district Agritex officers, this means that only credible and capable farmers will be approved,” she said.
Farmers started accessing inputs on Monday last week.
The tenure of the loan is 270 days at an interest rate of 10,5 percent per annum and an upfront fee of 2,25 percent.