By Wallace Mawire
Agribank, Zimbabwe’s leading bank offering support to the
agriculture sector has announced that it is increasing its support to
the floriculture and horticulture sector to promote exports to the
highly lucrative European market, according to SMT Malaba, Agribank
CEO in a presentation of the bank’s financial statements for the year
ended 30 June, 2018.
According to Malabe, the bank has made significant milestones with
respect to key strategic initiatives such as enhanced support to
agriculture and capital raising initiatives.
The banks is alo expanding support to agriculture and sustaining
business growth initiatives optimising on the critical role of
agriculture in the economy of the country.
Support to agriculture is at the core of the bank’s mandate for food
security and value addition.
“The bank is expanding support to the agriculture sector and is
likely to surpass its initial set target of $105 million and achieve
$125 million agriculture financing, inclusive of both on and off
balance sheet financing,” Malaba said.
He added that to date total lending to agriculture amounted to $80
million. He said that finance is being extended to major subsectors of
the agriculture sector such as tobacco, maize, soya, horticulture as
well as critical fertilizers and chemical industries that support
agriculture with inputs.
Malaba described horticulture and floriculture as low hanging fruits
for the country to boast its foreign exchange incomes. Previously the
sector was dominated by white commercial farmers but declined due to
the 2000 land reform programme. There was a major shift when the new
communal farmers focused on other traditional crops like maize and
cotton with a few focusing on the export crops.
Malaba added that in a bid to raise foreign currency the bank
managed to also support key sectors in agriculture like the
floriculture and horticulture sectors.
He said that the bank is exploring further expanded support in
respect of horticulture crops such as macadamia nuts, mange peas,
Michigan peas, avocados and cut flowers.