Over 1,000 farmers benefit from NMB initiative

National Microfinance Bank’s (NMB) new initiative to encourage farmers to open accounts and save money for farm inputs has bore fruits, with 1,000 people benefiting in Mtwara.
The pro-poor bank came up with the plan following its realisation that farmers spent almost every penny after selling their crops during harvest, ending up with nothing for inputs for the next season.

The Kilimo account is a high interest saving account, with minimum opening amount of 50,000/- and could be used as collateral for farm inputs loan.  A total of 2.5bn/- have been loaned out so far. 

NMB Chief Executive Officer Mark Wiessing said the initiative, which is on its second year, enables famers to get loans twice the amount of their savings.

“This account enables farmers to save and get loans for inputs when the season starts as most farmers are cashless at the time of new season,” Mr Wiessing said during the Maisha Plus/Oxfam’s Female Food Hero sponsoring event.

He added: “The new Kilimo account is a high interest saving account that can be used as collateral for farm input loans.”

Mtwara was the pilot area where 1000 farmers have benefited from the initiative with a total of 2.5bn/- input loans issued. 

Because of the good results, the project will now be rolled out in Lindi and Ruvuma to improve cashew nuts production but at the same time implant saving culture among farmers.

The bank finances famers through their Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Society (AMCOS) under warehouse receipt initiatives.

Under NMB foundation, the bank assists in training farmers’ co-operatives on good governance and record keeping, enabling AMCOS to qualify for bank loans.

“The bank is working to launch an emerging farmer financing programme to facilitate the development of individual farmers,” the CEO said.

The largest bank in Tanzania so far finances 1,000 AMCOS with over 500,000 farmers. The bank’s retail agro-portfolio in 2011 was over 100bn/-, involving warehouse receipts finance, out grower loans, agro dealers’ loans and other short and long term loans.

NMB through its various innovative products is working towards financing the agriculture value chain from production, harvesting, storage, processing, trading and export.
Source: The Daily News, reported by Abduel Elinaza
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