THERE can never be a better way to start a new farming season than doing so on the backdrop of Government’s announcement that farmers can now use the viability of their projects as collateral to access funding from the Land and Development Bank of Zimbabwe (Land Bank).
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Anxious Masuka revealed this at his Ngungunyana offices in Harare recently during the appointment of additional board members to the Pig Industry Board (PIB) and the Grain Marketing Board (GMB).
Dr Masuka also used the occasion to announce board members for the Agricultural Finance Corporation Land and Development Bank. The appointment was with effect from November 18.
President Mnangagwa approved the appointment of the additional board members for GMB and PIB, revealed Minister Masuka.
He told board members that for a long time financial institutions had been requesting for collateral with some refusing to take 99-year leases as collateral since they are not bankable while other demanded immovable property.
“While we resolve the bankability of 99-year leases and other tenure issues, the LADBZ will use project viability as collateral and not a 99-year lease.
“All a farmer needs to have is a tenure document either an A1 permit or the new securitised A2 permit or demonstrate that they are communal farmers with viable projects. That is the collateral and AFC will lend on that basis,” he said.
The AFC has been restructured to enable 21 000 A2 farmers and 360 000 A1 farmers to access loans at viable cost.
Minister Masuka said Government expected the 2, 3 million rural and urban farming households to move from subsistence farming to surplus oriented farming.
Once they move to surplus oriented farming, it means they will be selling the surplus, so they become economic participants and not spectators.
“If they are participants, it means they are into the mainstream economy and therefore Vision 2030 to them becomes a reality,” he said.
He said 360 000 A1 farmers who are farming as surplus oriented farmers should be transformed into micro family owned and family oriented agricultural businesses with perennial surpluses so that every year, they are able to sell something and improve their lives and livelihoods for the attainment of Vision 2030.
“The 21 000 A2 farmers have no option and should be transformed to serious business women and men in the next two to three years and that will be the role of the LADBZ to provide financing required to transform these three categories of farmers,” he said.
Dr Spiwe Majuru was appointed to the PIB board while Ms Antoneller Sofalino was appointed to the GMB board.
“This is to balance the gender aspect so that we have the 50 -50 representation on these boards.
“We are also bringing in the youths and their professional talents to ensure there is diversity and ensure regional representation,” he said.
The AFC Land Bank board consists of Ms Felistas Ndawi, Dr Richard, Mr Undiswi Nyikadzino, Dr Chipo Ndudzo, Mr Justin Mupamhanga, Mr Stoney Makuyana , Mr Knowledge Chikondo , Mr Gilbert Dzvuke and Mr Stancilae Tapererwa.
Acting permanent secretary, Dr Josphat Nyika urged the appointed board members to provide strategic direction to the institutions they were appointed to.
“Your decisions will affect your employees, customers, suppliers and the shareholder (Government). Board members should have oversight, should be committed and must have care, loyalty and obedience,” he said.