KELLY NJOMBO, Kalomo
OVER 500 small-scale farmers in Kalomo are expected to access finance for buying agricultural inputs under the customary land financing project.
Under the customary land financing project, Kudu AgriConsulting and Vision Fund Zambia will disburse funds to the beneficiaries following the partnership with Musika, Chikanta Development Trust, Lima Chuma and Medeem Zambia.
Musika managing director Reuben Banda said the project will act as a catalyst for small-scale farmersâ€™ access to finance as it is one of the major challenges affecting the growth of the agriculture sector in Zambia.
Mr Banda said during the launch of the project in Chief Chikantaâ€™s area on Friday, that the country is still facing high-risk agricultural economic and policy environment, expensive credit, low levels of agricultural risk assessment capacity within banks and poor financial literacy within the sector, hence contributing to the lack of liquidity.
â€œThe launch of the customary land financing project is a milestone towards ensuring that small-scale farmers have access to financial services that will not only allow them to expand their farming activities, but also provide them an opportunity to diversify their farming businesses,â€ he said.
Mr Banda said increased access to production finance allows farmers to invest in productivity and appropriate inputs to generate higher return from their farming businesses.
The customary land financing project will also enable small-scale farmers access farming inputs using collateral based on the value of the customary land.
Earlier, Kudu AgriConsulting Limited managing consultant Lance Simwanza said farmers must utilise the customary land initiative as it has been created to help address financing challenges.
Mr Simwanza said most financial institutions consider giving out finance to farmers with collateral, and this has hindered small-scale farmersâ€™ access to finance.
At the same event Medeem Zambia country director Roslyn Warren said the institution is pleased to be providing the land certificates to farmers that will help grow their businesses through access to finance.
KELLY NJOMBO, Kalomo