MEMORY MANINGA, Lusaka
DEVELOPING Aid from People-to-People (DAPP) has spent over US$500,000 on a project aimed at forming farmers’ clubs to make it easy for the private sector to provide incentives such as micro-loans and insurance services to small-scale farmers.
DAPP managing director Elise Soerensen said in an interview recently that the organisation has worked with about 2,800 farmers in the Southern Province.
The farmers have formed farmers’ clubs to create a platform for accessing loans and other financial services from various financial institutions.
“It is not easy for private sector financial companies to spot farmers individually and so to make it easier, we came up with this project last year. We are piloting it now in Pemba district where it has been successful,” she said.
Ms Soerensen said the organisation is advocating for more farmers to access insurance services and that farmers need to be protected from risks such as crop failure that they may encounter sometimes.
She said it is unwise for farmers to acquire huge loans that they may have problems to repay.
“This is why the organisation ensures that correct information is availed to them to enable them acquire affordable loans…We discourage farmers from acquiring, for example ,two big loans because if anything goes wrong, they may fail to pay back.
“We are also advocating for farmers to take insurance as this protect them when they suffer crop failure,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ms Soerensen said it is important that farmers get to practices improved farming methods aimed at ensuring that the fertility of the soil is maintained.
She said the farming clubs have created a platform where farmers encourage each on the need to practice good farming methods.
The farmers’ club project was funded and implemented by the World Food programme and the SWISS organisation which is the main funder.