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Comment: Zambian farmers need to utilize Financial Institutions

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By Chipindi Caleb Fundanga

Zambians as nationals overall have not begun to fully utilize the financial instruments being offered to them by commercial banks and other financial institutions. The repercussions of this is the average Zambian who can expand their come fails to live up to heir full capacity.

A major tool that has not been exploited especially in rural areas is land. In an ideal setup most of our rural small-scale farmers would have their farms on title deeds, which is currently far from the case. Title deeds to these properties would allow these farmers to expand and buy equipment by using their title deeds as equity. Many farmers if supplemented with proper irrigation and the availability of even a tractor on their holdings would easily even double their output.

Education is essential to ensuring rural communities are provided these opportunities to be given the opportunity to further contribute to the market and reduce poverty levels and unemployment in their areas.

Commercial banks, Ministry of Lands and the Ministry of Agriculture are key players in educating the public on the benefits of value addition to their properties. Co-operatives in Agriculture have continued to grow but their main concerns for the farmer have always been seed and inputs.

Growth and debate on capital acquisition should begin to lead the day. The financial sector in the country has grown and the country boasts of a number of commercial banks and financial institutions that would welcome a chance to offer a facility to a farmer whose showing potential to grow.

Diversifying our source of capital as Zambians is imperative. Individuals should be educated on their options to reduce reliance on government. One of the biggest issue in the past was Zambians in general believed these financial institutions were only inclined to offering such facilities to foreign individuals and businesses. The influx of commercial banks now offers the average member of the public with many options in a competitive market. In the current global economy many developing countries are resorting to educating their public on the benefits of getting support from financial institutions to expanding their businesses. Its must be said that with the use of financial institutions in business comes a huge responsibility in financial responsibility but this must not deter us from attempting to fulfill our capacity.

Commercial banks like Zambia National Commercial Bank  (ZANACO) is one bank that has taken up this call and this year has pledged One billion Kwacha to support the Agriculture sector, as a bank they have been in partnership with the Zambian National Farmers Union and last year alone supported about 25,000 emergent farmers through a scheme dubbed the LIMA scheme. Partnerships such as this one are highly welcomed but we can still see room for much more investment and co-operation.

 

Chipindi Caleb Fundanga

Investment Consultant

Institute of Finance and Economics

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31