ZIMBABWE-AFC Land and Development Bank, a Zimbabwean commercial banking, insurance, and leasing focusing on agricultural development, has confirmed a 14% rise in wheat hectarage in a US$10.5M investment.
According to Ms. Caroline Mozhendi, the AFC Holdings group head of strategy, marketing, and communications, the initial target was 10,000 hectares but through its aid, the farmers realized 11,409 hectares under wheat.
“The bank was targeting to put 10,000 ha under winter wheat production but ended up contracting farmers to do 11,409 ha after injecting over $3.8 billion Zimbabwe dollars (US$10.5M) into the program” stated Ms. Mozhendi in an exclusive interview with The Herald.
She further added that the milestone achievement is attributed to the government’s support through timely availability of inputs as well as the resuscitation of irrigation schemes across the country.
She also revealed that the bank’s mandate is to render support in terms of working capital in the attainment of food security programs.
In 2022, the Zimbabwe wheat volumes hit a record at 327,000 tonnes, five times more than that produced in 2021 according to a report on zibabwesituation.com. AFC pride itself on being a key contributor to high yields registered in the season.
Ms. Mozhendi added that the Bank’s contribution in terms of wheat harvest is at 51,351 tonnes which reflects about 14% of the national wheat yield.
The bank has promised that it would double the funded hectarage this year’s winter to support the realization of the country’s import substitution drive which is aimed at ensuring wheat self-sufficiency.
Additionally, beneficiaries of AFC bank loans have recommended the input package citing shorter processing time as well as well informed on farmers’ records in terms of product sales at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) for better appreciation.
“I have managed an average of 5 tonnes per hectare and the next winter I will expand the hectarage to 32 courtesy of AFC. The AFC’s interest rates are reasonable and would start repaying soon,” said Mr. Sithole, an AFC package beneficiary.
Last year, the government set a target for wheat production from different players such as CBZ Agro-Yield-36,500, AFC-10,000, Food Crop Contactors Association-23,000, and Presidential Input Scheme-5500, a cumulative total of 75,000 hectares.
However, the target was overshot after 80,885ha were planted with AFC being one of the overspill contributors.
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