FINCA urges Smallholder farmers to Save for Bad Days
The availability of affordable credit is critical for the success of any sector of the economy. Smallholder farmers on the other hand, have traditionally attracted less financial services and credit due to the perception of the high risk involved in the sector. In addition, in many cases there has been limited awareness by the farmers on the availability of financial products and how they can benefit them; while on the hand, Banks and Micro finance institutions are not aware of the new emerging opportunities in agriculture finance.
However, in an effort to bridge the gap between smallholder farmers, Banks and Microfinance institutions, Agri-Pro Focus Zambia SNV Netherlands Development, a non-for-profit organisation hosted the first ever Agri-Business Financial Fair in Choma town of Southern Province of Zambia. The fair which incorporated business forums/workshop and side events was officially opened by the Honourable Deputy Minister of Agriculture Mr Lexon Kazabu on 3rd October, 2014.
In his speech, the Deputy Minister said solutions to most of the challenges faced by smallholder farmers does not need huge investments and that all that needs to be done is to close the gap between the produces and the would be investors and service providers by establishing effective information dissemination system and channels.
Mr Kazabu further noted that financial service providers are unable to reach out to all farmers or are not aware of the investment opportunities in particular sub-sectors under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. The Deputy Minister therefore, urged the private sector companies and financial institutions to seriously consider the potential which exist in the agriculture sector and specifically the dairy industry and develop appropriate financial products which will meet the needs of the farmers and agro-processors.
The fair attracted exhibitors from the baking, insurance and agriculture sectors who showcased their products and services to the farmers. FINCA Zambia was the only financial institutions that showcased its products (Savings and Loans) to the famers. During the business forum/workshop, FINCA made a detailed presentation on its history and background, products and services and most importantly, how farmers can access and benefits from FINCA’s products and savings in particular. The two days Agri-Business financial fair ended on 4th October, 2014.