In a speech read on the PM’s behalf, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office responsible for investment, Angela Kairuki said after touring the ongoing ‘Nane Nane’ Agriculture Exhibitions being held at Nyakabidi Grounds in Bariadi District yesterday that the move will help incorporate mainly smallholder famers into the formal financial system.
“As government, we want all payments to farmers be made through their bank accounts so that it’s safe and convenient,” Majaliwa said after an NMB Bank Plc official raised the issue of cash payments to cotton farmers in Simiyu Region.
NMB’s Western Zone Manager, Sospeter Magesse told Kairuki who visited the bank’s pavilion which among other things, showcased implementation of its five-year strategic plan to transform cotton farming in the region that was launched in March 2019.
Magesse said as part of NMB’s participation in implementing the cotton farming transformation strategic mission, they have opened 86,000 banks accounts for farmers in Simiyu. “Our fear is that these accounts may end up not being used since cotton buyers here pay farmers using cash, which is not a healthy trend for our financial inclusion strategy,” he noted.
He said the bank has been playing an active role in the implementation of the Simiyu Region Five-Year Strategic Plan (2019-2024) which has an objective of revolutionizing cotton farming through lending to the commodity’s value chain.
According to him, one of the outstanding contributions of the bank in the cotton farming reform strategy has been disbursement of 1.9bn/- to rehabilitate warehouses for the crop that had deteriorated.
Through such investment, the NMB Western Zone Manager added, the result has been creation of a robust infrastructure of cotton storage facilities in the country’s top producer of the crop.
Magesse further noted that the bank’s investment has also helped sensitize smallholder farmers on financial management through their various Agricultural Marketing Co-operative Societies (AMCOS) in the region.
“We have also managed to bring together and empower 26 AMCOS which are participating in this programme to revolutionize cotton farming. The successful implementation of this program will enable the bank to lend to both individual farmers and their AMCOS,” he noted.