NANCY MWAPE, Lusaka
VICE-PRESIDENT Inonge Wina has urged financial institutions to promote innovative lending modules to help small-scale growers graduate to
commercial farming and contribute to wealth creation.
Mrs Wina said the nation expects financial institutions to be more flexible as this is one sure way of reducing poverty and creating wealth, especially in rural communities.
“Many commercial farmers could not have succeeded in what they are doing now without an initial support from lending institutions.
“Small-scale farmers are considered a risky group as far as credit is concerned, but there is no way they will graduate into emergent and eventually commercial farmers without financial and technical support,” she said.
Mrs Wina said this yesterday at 91st Agricultural and Commercial Show luncheon hosted by Barrick Lumwana Mine. The theme for this year’s show is ‘Promoting Green Economy’.
She commended the Agricultural and Commercial Show Society of Zambia for promoting agriculture and recognising small-scale farmers as strategic partners.
Barrick Lumwana Mine country executive director Nathan Chishimba said the mining industry in Zambia is part of the movement to drive the country to the green economy.
“At Lumwana, we have serious approach towards management of the economy, in fact, modern mining is nothing if you are not doing anything about the environment,” he said.
Earlier, addressing journalists after visiting some stands within the Showgrounds, Mrs Wina said Government has prioritised agriculture and its diversification as one of the development pillars in the Seventh National Development Plan.
She said there is need to find a way of adding value to local products to create wealth across the country.
She said Government, through the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, is championing value addition through the Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Commission which lends funds to small entrepreneurs.
“This Government is determined to make sure that agriculture is the mainstay of our economy. We cannot forever depend on copper as it has disappointed us on several occasions.
“Now is the time to look at how we use the land, what we produce from the land and how it can sustain our livelihood, especially in rural areas,” she said.