SNV is joining forces with the British and Danish governments to boost the productivity of small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe.
With two thirds of Zimbabwe's population living in the rural areas, the resuscitation of the agricultural sector is key to improving the livelihoods of ordinary Zimbabweans. Under the Create Fund, SNV is providing capacity building for Zimbabwean agricultural value chain actors, with a focus on smallholders. The capacity building services include training, coaching and mentoring in areas such as farming as a business, application for and use of credit, developing bankable business plans and facilitation of linkages among value chain actors.
An initiative of the of the Zimbabwe Agriculture Development Trust (ZADT), with financial support from the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) and The UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Create Fund was launched on September 5, providing access to an initial US$12 million in loans for small-scale farmers in Zimbabwe to boost their agricultural productivity.
The Create Fund has provided capital to three commercial banks (First Banking Corporation, NMB and TN Bank), who will offer loans to small-scale farmers and other actors in the agricultural value chain. While the loans will be offered on a commercial basis, lower interest rates will be charged. The various loan facilities will cater for agro-dealers, transporters and wholesalers, in addition to small-scale farmers.
The programme is being implemented by the Zimbabwe Agricultural Development Trust (ZADT), a joint SNV-Hivos initiative established in 2010 to facilitate access to credit on commercial terms to value chain actors working for the benefit of smallholder farmers in the country.
In addition to its role in providing capacity building services, SNV will be responsible for monitoring the fund to ensure that it has the desired impact. SNV Country Director in Zimbabwe, Larry Attipoe, said SNV’s involvement in the Create Fund was tied to the organisation’s commitment to addressing the systemic issues, including lack of access to credit, that limit smallholder agriculture in the country.
Bjorn Blau from Danida said the fund aimed at further facilitating private-sector-driven development in agriculture and was an important element in reviving Zimbabwe's agricultural sector.
“Evidently, the provision of humanitarian aid is not the solution to Zimbabwe's problems,” DFID head in Zimbabwe Jane Rintoul said, “this is why we are funding a revolving loan fund to ensure sustainability, productivity and accountability of funding available to small-scale farming sector."
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