|AgriTrade unveils package for communal farmers|
|Thursday, 20 October 2011 22:00|
A commercial lending company, AgriTrade has unveiled a facility to stimulate trade in the communal areas through facilitating funding for agribusiness dealers.
AgriTrade is working in partnership with banks on the facility that involves financing of agro-dealers that deal with communal farmers.
AgriTrade provides technical assistance in drawing up business plans and proposals.
Under the scheme agro-dealers apply for loans ranging from US$500 to US$200 000 which would be paid at an interest of 11 percent over 12 months. AgriTrade communications officer, Mrs Maggie Mzumara said the organisation was aiming at facilitating markets for communal farmers.
"The funding of agro-dealers will ensure they have more disposable cash to buy farm produce from communal farmers thereby benefiting the farmer," she said. Some of the dealers, who have benefited from the facility trade in grains, operate butcheries while others are into processing of agro produce.
Mrs Mzumara said that besides facilitating trade in the communal areas, the programme helped people in drought prone areas to get food.
"Some of the traders buy grain from areas of supply to areas of deficit and this helps to ensure food security," she said. A number of beneficiaries said they had recorded increase in business since they started getting loans from the financial institutions.
Chegutu beneficiary, Mr Clifford Mukungugwa, who trades in grains could not buy grain from farmers in large amounts due to cash constraints.
"Local banks are not willing to give us affordable money especially when there is no collateral," he said.
"After receiving a loan of US$15 000 I was able to buy more grain from farmers and pay them instantly," he said. Trust Bank regional manager Mr Gerald Zhou said his the bank had disbursed US$800 000 towards the facility since April this year.
"The funds are aimed at customers trading in rural areas to boost trade. Without these agro-dealers, many will take advantage of farmers and offer unviable prices for their produce," he said. Mr Zhou said the programme also provided ready markets, liquidity and knowledge on markets in the rural areas."We want to bring more investment to the rural areas and improve from barter trade and empower communal farmers as they are able to detect prices for their commodities," he said.
AgriTrade is under the Zim-Agricultural Income and Employment Development Programme sponsored by the USAID.