Unblock barriers inhabiting agro growth, says NGO

NETHERLANDS Development Organisation (SNV) says there is need to unblock barriers that are inhibiting the growth of the agriculture sector in Zambia, especially that rural farmers find it difficult to access credit from financial lending institutions.
SNV country director Sue Ellis said despite that 70 percent of Zambians are engaged in agricultural activities, only 13 percent have access to credit.
Dr Ellis said SNV, a non-profit-making international development organisation, aims to alleviate poverty by enabling increased income, employment opportunities and access to basic services.
She said this during an agri-business financial fair hosted by Agri-Pro-Focus Zambia in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, SNV and other stakeholders in the agriculture sector.
“As SNV, we believe that everyone has the right to guide their own development. The best way of doing that is to give you [farmers] access to increased income…If we want to grow Zambia, we need to invest in agriculture and we [need to] find ways to unlock this barrier [inability to access credit] and farmers need to find ways to access funding,” she said.
The fair’s objective was to ensure that farmers and financial institutions share knowledge on their products and investment opportunities.
Dr Ellis expressed concern over farmers’ failure to access credit from financial lending institutions, which demand unreasonable collateral.
Dr Ellis said there is need for farmers to form cooperatives to easily access credit from financial institutions that usually find it risky to lend money to individual farmers, especially those without collateral, as the organisation remains resolute to link them to possible financial investment partners.
Earlier, Agri-Pro-Focus country director Claire van der Kleij said the organisation will continue to promote farmer entrepreneurship in Zambia.
Gracing the occasion, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Greyford Monde said Government will continue to have an open-door policy to improve the agriculture sector.

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