Zambia’s Finance Minister – Felix Mutati – has again called on banks to expand customised financial services to rural smallholder farmers.
The minister said better access to finance was critical to the government’s vision to drive diverse economic growth through agriculture.
“Banks must ensure that smallholder farmers and women in rural areas have access to suitable financial products and services. The majority of rural people still have no access to financial services and products that might help them to improve their economic situation.”
LITTLE BANKING OR FINANCE IN RURAL AREAS
Zambia is striving to diversify its economic activity away from mining by aggressively stepping-up agricultural performance. As much as 40% of Zambia’s population live in rural areas and agriculture is their main source of livelihood.
Even after 52 years of independence, as little as 10% of the rural population uses formal financial services. This has contributed to poverty.
To help to alleviate this situation, government has secured US$ 40 million from cooperating partners in the 2017 budget to lend to smallholder farmers to promote mechanisation of crop production systems.