Researcher to banks: to go rural

Commercial banks in the country are duty bound to create an effective system that will avail the rural populations with financial services as a requisite for the nation’s sustainable development.

Senior Research Fellow with Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) Donatilla Kaino, speaking at a dissemination workshop for agricultural finance markets scoping in Dar es Salaam, said inclusion of the rural population in financial services was inevitable for the country’s development.

The workshop offered stakeholders with an opportunity to share the findings of AgFiMS Tanzania 2011 Demand Side Technical Report and create awareness among policy makers.

“Effective inclusion of rural population in financial services in the country is a crucial matter that needs urgent attention,” Dr Kaino, who chaired the meeting, said when presenting the workshop recommendations to journalists.

She said rural people whose main activity is agriculture constitute the country’s majority and it would make sense for financial institutions to consider accommodating them when rolling out various services.

“Their inclusion will spur social and economic development in the country,” she said. The workshop also pushed for improved skills of the rural population as well as enabling the rural dwellers to produce more and create markets for their produce.

Dr Kaino touted for a change in saving culture among Tanzanians, saying: “Saving culture is critical to attaining meaningful development at an individual, family and national level…we need to instill saving habit to children at their early ages.”

ESRF Executive Director Bohela Lunogelo, opening the workshop, said that financial sector is of critical importance now than ever before as the country witnesses fast growth of urban population and emerging gas and iron economy following the development of the two natural resources in the southern parts of the country.

The implementation of the first AgFiMS survey (AgFiMS Tanzania 2011) was commissioned by the Financial Sector Deepening Trust Tanzania (FSDT).

Data was collected from 4,094 agribusinesses by means of face to face interviews with business owners; 3,734 producers, 104 processors and 256 service providers.

Experts say that development of the agricultural sector is fundamental for poverty alleviation, with data showing that of the 75 per cent of poor people in developing countries live in rural areas and 85 per cent of the rural population depends on agriculture.

FSDT aims at providing greater access to people to engage with financial system in the country. FSDT has commissioned ESRF to execute the dissemination strategy through provision of technical assistance to ministries, government departments and agencies.
Source: The Daily News, reported from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
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