Lynn Munjanja Herald Reporter
Government has set out conditions for farmers wishing to access funding for maize and soya bean under Command Agriculture.
The conditions were set out in a statement issued by Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minster Perrance Shiri.
He said Government had so far, entered into partnerships with Agribank, CBZ, Stanbic and Women’s banks to manage and disburse funds for the programme, which would be guaranteed by Government.
“These banks shall support A1, A2 and other large-scale farmers into soya bean and maize production. Interested farmers both new and old with a proven track record should approach their local district Agritex offices for registration, vetting and contracting for production
“Collateral is not required as the verification would have been done by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement. 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.
“The programme will avail inputs through an electronic voucher system administered through the bank and inputs will be provided at district level through suppliers, stockists and agents as will be advised by the bank during the contracting process,” he said.
He added that farmers will start accessing inputs on October 7, 2019 and repayments will be deducted as farmers deliver grain to the Grain Marketing Board.
Minister Shiri also said the banks involved would support various industries in the agriculture sector.
“Agribank will support seed houses and fertiliser companies. Stanbic Bank shall support private contractors. Women’s Bank shall support traditional grain production,” he said.
Command Agriculture, which is the brainchild of Government, is an import substitution-led industrialisation concept deliberately meant to empower local producers of cereal crops and in the process boosting capacity for locals and creating employment for thousands of people in the sector.