By Staff Reporter
The Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale has urged banks in the country to increase the amount of loans they give to farmers so as to help fast track agricultural commercialisation as envisioned in the Malawi 2063 vision.
Pillar one in the Malawi 2063 agenda focuses on agricultural mechanisation and commercialisation but Kawale said this can only be possible with access to funding.
“Currently only 15 percent of the loans given by the banks goes to farmers. How can we achieve our vision at this pace? You need to deliberate on this and come up with solutions to create more financial opportunities for farmers,” he said.
Kawale was opening a two days Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) third Agri-Conference taking place in Lilongwe.
BAM first Vice President, Zandile Chaba who is also Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Centenary Bank, said agricultural financing is one of the main items on the conference’s agenda.
“Intact the Minister is right and that is why we are here because in our second Agri-Conference there was a recommendation that we should convene bankers over agricultural financing,” she said.
However she said since the last two Agri-Conferences, a lot of progress has been made on opening up financing opportunities for farmers.
The Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) Board Chairperson Herbert Chagona asked the Minister to fast track the reforms in the Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) so that it can start buying produce from farmers.
He also asked for the opening of structured markets for other crops other than Tobacco, Cotton and Tea alone as well as fast tracking the gazetting of the Seed Act.