NASCU advises Mkushi farmers to affiliate

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—-The National Association of Savings and Credit Union (NASCU) has cautioned small scale farmers in Mkushi district against shunning the importance of registering membership in this organsation.

Mkushi District NASCU’s Coordinator, Cephas Munsaka, issued the warning during an interview with ZANIS on Wednesday.

Mr Munsaka said that NASCU, which was formerly called Credit Union Savings Association (CUSA), had been experiencing very poor response from small scale farmers since re-opening its Mkushi Branch three years ago.

He explained that it was important for farmers to note that the essence of NASCU’s operations aimed at encouraging a savings culture amongst small scale farmers.

The coordinator said by saving money with this institution, small scale farmers would be legible to access loans in form of cash or farming inputs.

Mr Munsaka observed that access to loans had been a long standing challenge that hindered small scale farmers from expending their scale through re-capitalisation.

He said that the major objective of NASCU aimed at facilitating loan access to small scale farmers, adding that this demand-driven program depended much on support from its fully paid up members’ savings remittance.

He bemoaned the poor response towards NASCU, saying the organisation had only 13 members from 2013 to date, of which three were based in Luano district.

Mr Munsaka pointed out that farmers risked losing the opportunity of accessing big loans as NASCU was expecting some money from the African Confederation of Cooperative Savings and Credit Association (ACCOSCA).

He said this empowerment had been earmarked to unfold soon after the ACCOSCA conference which would be held in Lusaka from March 12 to 14 this year.

He said after this conference, farmers who have fully paid up their affiliation fees to NASCU District Branches, would be considered to benefit from loans schemes as NASCU were expecting some financial boost.

Mr Munsaka observed that there was need to change the mindset of small scale farmers, charging that the culture of savings for purpose of accumulating a floating money reserve had not been appreciated by farmers.

He maintained that the NASCU activities were designed to be demand-driven by the positive response from farmers.