Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Targets Agricultural Support

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is set to establish an agricultural support scheme worth US$160 million, which would be extended to a targeted 2 000 productive farmers.

RBZ governor, John Mangudya, told the Financial Gazette’s Companies & Markets on the sidelines of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) 75th congress, that the support scheme would cover all the agricultural clusters that are strategic to the economy.

“Let’s have clusters in agriculture of people who are performing. As RBZ, we are saying we want to intervene in agriculture through banks. So we need to identify winners, people who are serious farmers, who are producing for the country and see how best to capacitate them,” he said.

Mangudya said the RBZ would soon engage all the farmers’ unions such as ZFU, Zimbabwe National Farmers Union (ZNFU), and Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) to recommend names of productive farmers under their unions.

He said they had targeted 2 000 farmers using the six tonners under 100 hectares per farmer ratio.

This would translate to a yield of 1,2 million tonnes against the 1,3 million tonnes national maize consumption, he said.

Mangudya said over the past few years, government has tried to support a huge number of farmers with no positive results.

He indicated that last year alone, government disbursed US$500 million into agriculture but there was very little to show for that investment.

“We have realised that it does not work to have a big number of farmers producing nothing. We will be wasting resources. The economy is about making choices. We need to make sure that we make a choice to give that money to people who are productive.

“Yes, we can start with 2 000 farmers only. It’s not a big number if you compare with the US$500 million we poured into agriculture last year. But take note that despite the huge funds injected last year, the sector did not perform to expectations.

“This is why we are saying it is better to work with a few farmers. By giving support to 2 000 productive farmers, we can meet the national demand using less only US$160 million, which is even less than what we used last year,” said Mangudya.

He said they would soon craft the intervention strategy that would have input from farmers’ unions and local banks.

Mangudya also revealed that the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) had now settled a US$90 million debt owed to farmers for their 2014/15 season.

He said the GMB would be clearing the balance of US$14 million in the next two weeks before looking at the new season.

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Source: Financial Gazette

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