Kiyapili Sibanda Business Reporter—
AGRIBANK and FBC Bank are seeking to raise $20 million to support the 2017/18 cropping season through the issuance of agro bills. Last year the two financial institutions again raised $20 million to support agriculture. In a statement, Agribank said since 2010 the two financial institutions had raised $65 million to support agriculture.
The two financial institutions said they had been supported by investors such as Pension and Provident funds, Insurance companies, Life mutual, commercial banks as well as the investing public.
Agribank said the agro bills that would have a tenor of 270 to 360 days will support diverse agricultural activities.
“The agro bills, which have a tenor of 270 to 360 days, have the following features: prescribed asset status, liquid asset status, Government guarantee and tax exemption.
“The funding has been deployed to support diverse agricultural activities such as: sugarcane production, agro processors, smallholder tobacco farmers, macadamia farming, dairy farming, seed maize and maize production,” said Agribank.
Through the issuance of the agro bills, Agribank said they were able to support a diverse range of farming activities across the country for both cash crops and grains.
The bank also said it has collaborated with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) and the Tobacco Research Board to support the tobacco sub-sector.
“The bank financed the floating tray seedbeds as part of the partnership with TRB and financed ‘rocket barns’ and drip irrigation for smallholder farmers in partnership with TIMB. This is part of an ongoing initiative to enhance tobacco production to boost foreign currency earnings,” it said.
Agribank and FBC Bank are exploring opportunities to secure medium and long-term funding which was more suitable for capital and infrastructure development to augment existing seasonal financing.
Agribank said it would continue to expand agriculture support with special focus on food security and foreign currency generation.
Meanwhile, Agribank said it is phasing out manual withdrawals to embrace electronic and mobile banking payments to bring enhanced and efficient service to its customers.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr John Mangudya is on record encouraging the transacting public to embrace electronic platforms as well as plastic money in light of the prevailing cash shortages. — @Kiyaz_Cool