AFC ready to disburse funds for smart agriculture
By Laurence Kanyasa
The agricultural finance corporation bank says it is ready to work with youth in communities countrywide by providing funds to sustain communal and commercial farming.
Speaking during a smart climate agriculture workshop held in Harare this Monday, AFC Bank representative Doctor Francis Macheka said plans are underway to disburse funds to villages and farms
“As a financial institution, we pledge our commitment to continue working with young farmers in order to improve farming methods, and move towards smart agriculture,” said Macheka.
He added that, youths must approach any AFC branch in their respective provinces to submit their business proposals which will be considered for funding.
Macheka reiterated that those who would have succeeded would also be equipped with solar irrigation machinery that would be used as an alternative to rainwater and use firewood as a source of energy.
“Irrigation, solar, and fertiliser are essential components that help increase yield in farms, to date we have seen tobacco yields growing tenfold as a result of these interventions,” said Macheka.
Dr Macheka gave a case study where a horticulture farmer, Mark Raphael harvested 20 buckets of tomatoes in his first farming season in 2020, however with interventions from AFC, last year in 2022 he managed to produce more than 120 buckets of tomatoes
Despite the financial institution’s eagerness to support farmers, some have cried foul over the long processes that are done in order to get loan approval saying so much paperwork, collateral, and other requirements which in some cases are beyond the reach of many.
He went on to say there is a need for farmers to interact with market sources where they can sell their product in time before produce rots in storage.
“In today’s market the huge impact that affects farmers is on marketing, therefore there is a need to engage supermarkets, schools, churches, and other prospective buyers so that they realise their gains,” said Macheka.
As a financial institution, AFC also invests in energy especially for tobacco farmers by providing modern solutions to curing tobacco, Macheka said.