NATIONAL Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) has lent out K16 million to 300 farmers countrywide through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU).
NATSAVE managing director Cephas Chabu said that access to finances by farmers had remained a challenge, hence the need to mitigate the problem.
Speaking at the on-going 90th Agriculture and Commercial Show in Lusaka, Mr Chabu said the MoU would mitigate financial challenges faced by farmers.
“This programme started from Mkushi and when the product started to mature, we started getting applications from different provinces. We see it growing especially that farmers are selling their produce,” he said.
Mr Chabu said the show’s theme “Managing environment for growth” was in line with the bank’s vision to develop products that benefited clients while growing the economy.
“I must mention that we are participating in the show for the first time and we are happy to identify ourselves with the theme as it speaks well with what is happening at the bank in terms of product development.
“Over the years we realized that the farming community especially in rural areas has limitations in accessing finance or mechanization; so we developed the ‘Bunjimi Assets’ product as one way of mitigating this limitation,” he said.
He also said NATSAVE had 39 agents in remote areas and 38 branches in rural area aimed at reaching out to the unbanked population.
“We want to be closer to our clients, that is why we are opening branches in rural areas,” he said.
Mr Chabu said the bank had developed linkages between its customers and the market to avoid having non-performing loans (NPL).
“We are in linkage banking; we develop linkages between customers and the market for customers to have cash flows for paying back the loans.
“This is the model helping us going forward, we may have had bad loans in the past but the current environment is that we are able to advise clients and move with them,” he said.