NMB’s Head of Agri-business, Isaac Masusu said mid this week while addressing smallholder farmers and experts from Sokoine University of Agriculture that many farmers fail to qualify for bank loans because of quality of their commodities which then leads to failure to access markets.
“As NMB Bank we are frustrated by both quality and quantity of commodities being produced by farmers but also lack of professionalism which leads to poor market access as such produce cannot compete,” Masusu said.
He pointed out that in order to address the challenge, the market’s largest bank has come up with ‘Kizimba Business Model Loans’ to sensitize farmers and stakeholders on quality farming by offering long term loans and technical advice.
“We hope that this ‘Kizimba Business Model’ will provide solutions for these challenges which have denied smallholder farmers access to long term loans to invest in their businesses,” he noted while stressing that women and youth are targeted beneficiaries of the scheme.
He further explained that NMB is working with a group of SUA agribusiness graduates under Sugeco to assist develop capacity of smallholder farmers so that they can grow and graduate into commercial farmers under the arrangement. “Through this collaboration, NMB will start issuing long term loans to smallholder farmers so that they can invest in profitable projects which mature in many years,” he added.
Agriculture Minister, Professor Adolf Mkenda applauded NMB for the move saying the agriculture sector has huge potential but lacks financing and technical expertise especially among smallholder farmers.
Prof Mkenda gave an example of palm oil which has strived well in Indonesia which Also exports refined edible oil to Tanzania because the country’s agri-business sector is less competitive hence unable to meet local demand. “Indonesia harvests 10 tons per hectare of crude palm oil while here we do 0.6 tons which means that we have an uphill task to improve,” he said.
SUA’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Raphael Chibunda backed the minister by saying that the institution through Sugeco is working with NMB to address some of the teething challenges facing the agriculture sector. “Through this cooperation our graduate students also get into agri-business with practical knowledge received from experts in the field,” he stated.