The Vice President Philip Mpango has urged local banks to extend more loans to players in the agriculture sector value chain including farmers, fishers and livestock keepers so as to boost agriculture productivity across the country.
Speaking during the inauguration of this year’s commemoration of Farmers’ Day (Nane Nane) in Mbeya, Dr Mpango said the lenders should do more to support farming, livestock keeping and fisheries activities.
He commended banks for reducing lending rates to nine per cent but noted that banks should consider reducing the interest rates further to allow more farmers’ access finance.
“More loans should be extended to farmers, fishers and breeders so as to increase investment and productivity in order to address the challenge of unemployment in the country,” the Vice President noted in his inaugural speech.
According to him, agriculture is a key national economic activity that requires financing support with NMB Bank Plc adding that it has in the last five years provided loans amounting to over 1.56trn/-
Commenting on the investments the bank has been making in the sector, NMB Highlands Zone Manager, Stratton Chilongola, said the lending has remarkably impacted the agriculture value chain in the country.
The loans, he explained, have enabled farmers, fishers and livestock keepers to meaningfully contribute to national output (GDP) growth and overall development of the country.
Outlining the NMB agro-financing portfolio, Chilongola said the credit includes the 300bn/- that has been extended to finance cultivation of several crops this year, which are coffee, tobacco, avocadoes, paddy, soya, maize and sesame seeds.
“This year, we have set aside 20bn/- for construction of crop warehouses in villages across the country to help address the challenge of post-harvest losses. To date, we have extended loans worth TZS 6 billion for this purpose,” Chilongola noted.