Visa cards favour farmers

ABOUT 12,500 visa prepaid cards have been issued to small-scale farmers under the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) Lima Credit Scheme (LCS) which enabled them access competitively priced inputs.
Last year, the union launched the visa prepaid card which was piloted in Mumbwa, Mkushi and Petauke.
ZNFU head of outreach and member services Coillard Hamusimbi said with the Visa prepaid cards, farmers do not need to open a bank account or cash to have access to finance for inputs.
Mr Hamusimbi, however, said out of the12,500 cards given out, only 11,900 are active.
“Whether we like it or not, technology is here to stay. We need to utilise it to our benefit,” he said at the Poultry Association of Zambia (PAZ) annual general meeting recently.
He said after seeing the success of the project, the union intends to also pilot it in the poultry and dairy sectors through the PAZ and Dairy Association of Zambia (DAZ).
He said the electronic-card (E-card) is an innovation that can solve poultry payments problems as farmers can now load money onto the card, “regardless of who you bank with”.
The card will also help farmers not to carry huge sums of money around as it is unsafe.
Under the initiative, the union has enlisted several supplies so that farmers can pay online.
Mr Hamusimbi also said the card offers access to discounts in selected companies that are participating.
Meanwhile, ZNFU plans to launch the e-extension platform where farmers will be given tips on a weekly basis as well as ask questions from wherever they are.
He said the union is already in talks with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock on the issue for possible implementation by the end of the year.

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