Rural financial package to be unveiled

Rural farming

FINANCIAL Service Depending Zambia (FSDZ) has engaged various financial institutions to launch a programme that will promote access to finance among smallholder farmers and micro-enterprises in rural areas.
Under the programme, FSDZ is targeting to reach out to about 25,000 farmers and over 15,000 micro-enterprises and is dubbed, Rural Agriculture Finance (RAF).
FSDZ-RAF project manager Joachim Kasonde said the programme is expected to be launched this month but that no particular region has been identified and that this will depend on the partner’s preferred area of interest.
In an interview on Wednesday, Mr Kasonde said the programme is targeted the rural population and farmers because they are the most financially-excluded population in the country.
He, however, could not divulge more details on the total financial package.
“We are designing a programme which we are calling RAF. It is basically, to increase access to finance by smallholder farmers and rural population. We expect finance in rural areas will contribute to promoting rural agricultural investment and several economic benefits most people in these areas are dependent on agriculture activities.
“All things being equal, we intend to launch RAF in October this year and over 40,000 smallholder farmers and micro-enterprises are expected to benefit,” he said.
Mr Kasonde said currently, FSDZ is looking at the landscape and trying to understanding what services are being offered by other players in the market.
He said under the programme, FSDZ will build capacity of various finance institutions that they will work with by accessing the gap in rural areas and designing programmes that will be implemented jointly.

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