ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka
A BUSINESS-to-business platform where small-scale farmers and commercial enterprises will deliberate on the financial challenges that the farming community faces is expected to take off this month.
The platform will boost service delivery in the agriculture value chain in Zambia and the neighbouring countries.
According to a statement availed to the Daily Mail, Agritech Expo will take place from April 16 to18 and will conduct free financial advice sessions, specifically formulated to supportÂ small, emerging and commercial farmers in various sectors of agriculture.
The statement says over 10, 000 people are expected to attend this monthâ€™s expo following the successful launch of the event last year.
The forum will help enhance farmersâ€™ productive capacity to access the necessary finance to grow and expand their yields.
â€œMany Zambian farmers struggle to get access to finance to grow and expand their businesses. At the upcoming Agritech Expo at GART in Chisamba, local agriculture experts will be on hand with free financial advice, specifically, geared towards addressing challenges in the agriculture sector,â€ it says.
Commenting on the event, Zanaco Bank managing director Bruce Dick said the main challenge that the countryâ€™s agriculture sector faces is lack of security, financing for capital expenditure and working capital purposes to enable farmers borrow.
Mr Dick said the bank is committed to continuously invest in innovative and affordable products and services to enable farmers increase their income levels.
â€œOur mandate [is to]â€¦reach our customers with financial services and products including the unbanked bankable people in rural and urban Zambia,â€ he said.
Sharing the same sentiments, John Deere Financial head of retail Antois van der Westhuizen said Zambiaâ€™s agriculture sector is showing great signs of growth with potential to make the country a food basket for the rest of central and eastern Africa.
â€œThere are signs of excellence with the latest technology being employed and mechanisation being used as a method of increasing efficiency and yields. However, financing solutions should be flexible and made to fit the needs of the farmers while still maintaining proper risk management principals,â€ he said.
ESTHER MSETEKA, Lusaka