Many Zambian farmers struggle to get access to finance in order to grow and expand their businesses. At the upcoming Agritech Expo at GART in Chisamba from 16-18 April, local agri experts will be on hand with free financial advice that is specifically geared towards to the agricultural sector and meeting Zambian challenges. More than 10 000 people are again expected to descend on the centre of agriculture in Zambia next month following the successful launch of the event last year.
Agritech Expo is a business-to-business platform for agricultural professionals, from small scale farmers to commercial enterprises, to engage and conduct business with some of the world’s leading suppliers to the agricultural industry. From live crop trials to machinery demonstrations, the event services the needs of the entire agri-value chain in Zambia and the region.
“Lack of security for farmers to borrow”
The expo in Chisamba also offers a range of free, technical and practical workshops on 17 and 18 April to assist small, emerging and commercial farmers in various sectors of agriculture, from using the latest technologies, to improving their productive capacity to accessing the necessary finance to grow and expand.
Mr Bruce Dick, Managing Director of Zanaco (Zambia National Commercial Bank) sees as some of the main challenges for the country’s agricultural sector “the lack of security (titled land) to enable farmers to borrow and the lack of financing for Capex and working capital purposes.” Zanaco is the diamond sponsor for Agritech Expo and will provide a free talk on finance for emergent and small holder farmers at the event.
Says Mr Dick: “in living our mandate of financially including the unbanked bankable people in rural and urban Zambia, we are committed to continuously invest in innovative but affordable products and services. We are also committed to enhancing our distribution touch points through which we reach our customers.”
Zanaco recently launched two innovative products aimed at empowering farmers in Zambia. Mr Bruce Dick explains: “the first one was the ‘Loan A Cow’ facility which helps dairy farmers acquire milk producing cows without using conventional collateral as we know it and the other one was the mechanization facility which help farmers purchase farming equipment from John Deere. These are our partners and are one of the leading suppliers of farming equipment.”
“Financing solutions should be flexible”
“Agriculture in Zambia is showing great signs of growing” says Antois van der Westhuizen, Head of Retail at John Deere Financial and another speaker atAgritech Expo in Chisamba.
He continues: “the potential exists to make Zambia a food basket for the rest of Central and Eastern Africa. There are signs of excellence with the latest technology being employed and mechanization being used as a method of increasing efficiency and yield. There are challenges, however, which can be met by using appropriate financing tools. Financing solutions should be flexible and made to fit the needs of the farmers while still maintaining proper risk management principals. In order to accomplish this we need to break away from traditional lending products and be more innovative.”
Finance focused presentations and discussions at Agritech Expo include:
– “Financing Outside the Box”: Our Journey with Emergent & Smallholder Farmers
Ephraim Mwafyeni, Head of value chain, Zanaco, Zambia
– Providing farmers in Zambia with access to finance
Antois van der Westhuizen, Head of retail, John Deere Financial
– Follow-up panel discussion and Q&A session:
Moderator: Chance Kabaghe, Executive Director, Iapri, Zambia
o Patrick Mutenda, Head – AgriBusiness, Barclays, Zambia
o Senior Representative, Stanbic Bank, Zambia
o Ephraim Mwafyeni, Head of Value Chain – Finance, Zanaco, Zambia
o Coillard Hamusimbi, Head Member Services and Agribusiness, ZNFU Lima Services Ltd, Zambia
o Antois van der West Huizen, Head of Retail, John Deere Financial
Agritech Expo is owned by the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) and organised by Spintelligent, leading Cape Town-based trade exhibition and conference organiser, and the African office of Clarion Events Ltd, based in the UK.
Agritech Expo dates and location:
The expo days are planned with the following audiences in mind:
16 April, Thursday: large scale, commercial farmers, emerging large scale farmers, VIPs, media, government, industry stake holders
17 April, Friday: Small scale farmers, emerging farmers.
18 April, Saturday: small scale farmers, emerging farmers and other interested visitors.
Location: GART Centre, Chisamba, Zambia
Communications manager: Annemarie Roodbol