The move is likely to increase crop productivity as well as availability of quality seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. Through the established unit, the government will facilitate availability of local and international markets for various crops.
Agriculture Minister, Japhet Hasunga made the statement on Tuesday when launching the CRDB bank agricultural financing program which will see farmers having access to loans for agricultural inputs. The program is jointly implemented by the bank in collaboration with ETC Agro, LoanAgro and Agricom.
Hasunga said the government is collaborating with the National Insurance Corporation (NIC), Tanzania Insurance Regulatory Authority (TIRA) and five privately owned insurance firms has introduced crop insurance aiming to protect farmers’ crops during natural disasters or other impacts caused by climate change. Under the scheme, farmers also access loans.
Hasunga said that the government is really determined to ensure that farmers are well equipped with prerequisite skills and tools to improve productivity, income thus fight poverty.
“To achieve this, the government adopted a strategy to register all farmers in the county so as to identify their number and the amount of land they cultivate and provide them with special identification cards (IDs) .
He said the move also aimed to enable the government to set appropriate development plans for farmers that would increase efficiency and production of crops in the country.
“So far, a total of 1,279,884 commercial crop farmers have been registered and put in a special database for sustainable recognition, a move will enable smooth provision of agricultural services including crop insurance services,” Hasunga said.
He said that the strategy will enable farmers to increase their income through better access to national, regional and international markets, by enhancing quality and standards compliance along the value chain thus reduce poverty.
He further commended the bank’s efforts calling on the farmers and other beneficiaries of the loans to properly utilize the funds to bring development in their homes, communities and country at large.
“This bank has been doing a lot to support the agricultural sector in the county, statistics show that 40 percent of all agricultural loans in the country have been issued by CRDB Bank,” he noted.
The minister pointed out that the agriculture sector is key in development of the country due to its contribution to the economy. Statistics show that the agricultural sector contributes more than 28 percent to the GDP, while also providing employment to about 75 percent of Tanzanians.
“The country’s Development Vision of 2025 and the Second National Development Plan focusing on the industrial revolution, collectively recognize the agricultural sector as a strong pillar that will enable access to industrial raw materials and boost the national economy,” he added.
The minister said that statistics show that 8 percent of all loans issued by financial institutions 2018/2019 financial year were directed to the agricultural sector. The rate includes cash loans as well as agricultural inputs.
“This is a very small amount compared to the importance of the sector to the national economy. Therefore, it is high time for financial institutions and other stakeholders to invest more by providing affordable services and products in order to enable farmers to practice modern and more productive agriculture.”
For his part, CRDB Bank executive director Abdlmajid Nsekela said that the institution is well prepared to compliment the government’s efforts in supporting the agriculture sector through provision of soft loans to farmers for sustainable farming in the country.
He said that for the past three years, the bank has issued loans totaling 1.6trillion benefiting all stakeholders in the agriculture’s value chain.
Nsekela said that the bank’s agricultural loans were directed in the areas such as: Inputs and operations, agricultural tools, construction of warehouses, connections and markets, investment in industry, financial education so as to provide investment awareness and capacity building on livestock keeping, aquaculture and been keeping .