CBZ Bank Limited has floated Agricultural Marketing Authority Bills to raise US$35 million for soyabean production this season.
An official from the bank’s investment banking department confirmed the development saying: “The latest AMA Bills are wholly guaranteed by Government with features such as tap issue, 10,5 percent interest per annum, 272-day tenor and payment is on allotment that opens tomorrow September 17.”
Special features include prescribed asset status, liquid asset status and exemption from tax and applications must be for a minimum of US$50 000 in multiples of US$10 000. CBZ has been at the forefront of mobilising financial support for agriculture, particularly towards smallholder farmers, because of its philosophy that agriculture is the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy.
The sentiments are also consistent with the position taken by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last year to extend more resources to small farmers this year while big and established farmers would have to find their own means to secure funding.
In June while presenting a paper at the Fivet Expo, AMA operations manager Mr Maxwell Chikanda stressed the importance of Government intervention in the agricultural sector to ensure farmers produce enough for the country’s consumption.
“The role of Government in establishing a conducive environment for business in general and for the maize and soyabean production in particular cannot be overemphasised,” he said.
Mr Chikanda added that for the 2011-2012 farming season, Government through the public sector initiatives, mobilised US$49 million for the Presidential Well-wishers Agricultural Inputs Scheme, vulnerable households and livestock drought mitigation. Private institutions initiatives mobilised US$57,5 million.
Of this total CBZ Bank contributed US$20 million for cash crops and provided a further US$12,5 million in collaboration with AMA for oilseeds.
The remainder came from Agribank which availed US$15 million for food crops while Stanbic Bank raised US$10 million for cash crops.
Apart from the AMA Bills, CBZ Bank last December was reported to have extended US$35 million to agriculture, directly to farmers and input suppliers.
By end of December last year, AMA reported that more than 1 560 farmers had applied for loans to finance soyabean production under its Million Bills that had also been offered by CBZ Bank that received overwhelming response from both companies and farmers.
The last AMA Bills were in two sets – US$4,5 million guaranteed by CBZ Bank and US$17,6 million guaranteed by the Government.