Agri-business Business

East farmers to benefit from agro support

DARLINGTON MWENDABAI, Chipata
ABOUT 200 smallholder farmers in Eastern Province are expected to receive farm equipment under the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) and National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) Bunjimi Asset-plus-loan facility this month.
The loan facility is an empowerment initiative which helps farmers to acquire tractors, planters, rippers and ploughs among other farm equipment.
ZNFU regional manager Michael Mambwe said in an interview here on Monday that the facility is the first of its kind in the province that will enable farmers to use modern equipment to improve their yields.
Mr Mambwe said, “This month, we are targeting 200 farmers under the Bunjimi Asset-plus-loan facility and so far we have received 10 applicants.”
ZNFU and NATSAVE have partnered to help increase the productivity of farmers who need to start using modern technology.
Mr Mambwe said the loan will be paid in instalments.
The cost of a tractor is about K140,000, which will be paid in instalments over two years until the loan is settled in full.
Other than the Bunjimi Asset-plus-loan facility, ZNFU has also partnered with Zanaco Bank to help farmers access farm inputs.
The Lime Credit scheme has currently been running for six years and this year about 12, 000 farmers are expected to benefit from the facility.
Mr Mambwe said Zanaco is supporting 5,000 farmers in the province with farm inputs such as fertiliser and seeds.
He said the Lime Credit scheme has helped farmers produce more maize, soya beans and groundnuts among other crops because farm inputs are distributed on time.
The scheme is another facility ZNFU is using to ensure farmers diversify their farming practices and assist farmers to be less dependent on Government’s farmer input support programme (FISP).



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