Agritech Expo round-up by Judith Namutowe –
STANBIC Zambia says it has been having difficulties to do business with farmers in the last four years because of their inability to service loans.
Stanbic new business manager Horis Mainza said the bank was constrained with the farmers inability to pay loans due to their reduced income.
“So because of their reduced incomes, the ability to borrow and sustain their operations has really been constrained. And also as banks we are facing that constriction in terms of farmers inability to repay,” he said.
Mr Mainza was speaking during the 2018 Agrictech Expo in Chisamba at the weekend.
He said the farmers’ ability to repay had also been affected by the rainfall pattern and commodity prices.
Mr Mainza said in terms of asset financing, Stanbic was way over US$3 million but that in terms of other facilities, the bank was way above that, probably about $4 to $5 million.
“That’s how much financial support and activity we are doing in the agric space, supporting about 200 farmers in 2017. We are talking about a market where there are 600 commercial farmers and 350 to 400 are banking with us,” he said.
Mr Mainza said with improved commodity prices, the bank expected that business cycles would improve.
He also said the bank launched a product dubbed “Weekend Finance” which allows employees on salaries with have side farms to buy equipment.
“We have seen a trend in most individuals on salaries going into farming activities, hence the launch of weekend farmer financing.
Also partnering with others player in the market such as NWK , Zambia Conservation Farming Unity (ZCFU) to offer financing to small scale farmers. So these as some of the activities we are doing in terms of achievement and adding value to the environment in which we are operating in,” he said.