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Smallholder Farmers Access $10 Million Agritrade Credit Facility

In this second edition of a three-part series of the United States Agency for International Development’s Zimbabwe Agricultural Income and Employment Development (ZIM-AIED) program launched in 2010, we look at farmers and agribusinesses’ access to credit and finance.

ZIM-AIED implemented by U.S contractor Fintrac, runs a credit facility called agritrade managed by a sub-contractor, the International Relief and Development (IRD).

Agritrade is a $10 million revolving credit fund geared towards the agricultural sector and implemented in partnership with three local financial institutions.

The facility aims to ensure that farmers and agribusinesses have access to credit following serious liquidity constraints in Zimbabwe.

IRD country director for Zimbabwe, Nick Ahlers, says in the last decade Zimbabwe’s agricultural landscape has changed from being driven by less than 10,000 large scale farmers to become reliant on hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers.

These smallholder farmers need access to reliable training and technical assistance, input and output markets, technology and credit to commercialize.

Realizing that these farmers and agribusinesses needed assistance in accessing credit from commercial banks, Mr. Ahlers says, ZIM-AIED designed agritrade to suit the new dispensation of doing business with smallholder farmers, who were considered a high risk group by commercial banks.

Agritrade programme manager, Fidelis Tamangani, adds that agribusinesses and farmers are using their assets as collateral for accessing bank loans.
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