The bank’s Chief Retail Banking, Filbert Mponzi said in Handeni district of Tanga region while handover of 3bn/- cheque to provide loans to cassava farmers that there is big potential in the commodity hence the support.
Mponzi said NMB has teamed up with Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank to back efforts being made by Handeni District Commissioner, Godwin Gondwe in championing growth of modern farming in the district.
“We plan lend over 40bn/- to small scale farmers countrywide this year to enhance food security through increased production, job creation and economic diversification,” Mponzi said adding that Agriculture is crucial to long-term economic growth and diversification in the country. Currently, over 600 small and medium scale farmers’ have opened accounts with NMB.
He said the 3bn/- in Handeni will be disbursed to 43 groups with a total of 421 farmers benefiting individually adding that it was meant to address recurring issues of low productivity, limited farmers’ participation to agribusiness supply chains and institutional realignment.
“We are committed to supporting smallholder farmers who in most cases are excluded from formal banking services,” the NMB CRB added. He explained that the move is meant to encourage investment in cassava value chain production to enable farmers increase their income while targeting Chinese market demand for the tuber.
According to him, agri-business will be among their top priorities, adding that as the bank...they want to be seen as an agricultural bank in this country. “As NMB, we are here to help individuals from all walks of life to play a role in the country’s prosperity,” he noted.
Handeni District Commissioner, Godwin Gondwe thanked the bank for the loan package to cassava farmers saying cultivation of the tuber has increased by 87 percent pupils' performance and income of farmers this year.
“The district has been in contact with various development partners and stakeholders to support with availability of hybrid seeds for our farmers in the district,” Gondwe said while explaining that Handeni district's move to promote cassava is based on its potential.
Chairperson of Tanzania Cassava Producers and Processors Association, Mwantumu Mahiza said the 3bn/- loan is historic for the country and will assist growth of cassava cultivation with training and provision of hybrid planting materials given to farmers. “Currently, cassava is big business in Handeni district with many tons being shipped to Dar es Salaam daily,” Mahiza said. Tanzania Agriculture Development Bank has given 50 percent guarantee of the 3bn/- loan.