In its key message during the ongoing Zimbabwe Agricultural Show (ZAS), AFC Holdings reiterated its readiness to finance the 2023-2024 summer crop.
Speaking to Spiked Online Media during the show, AFC Holdings Group Head for Marketing and Strategy, Ms. Caroline Mozhendi said the initiative is meant to support the Government’s drive to achieve food self-sufficiency.
“AFC Holdings has confirmed its readiness to finance & support farmers for the 2023 -2024 Summer Cropping season through its DFI the Land and Development Bank of Zimbabwe. This will be supported with mechanization services from the AFC Leasing Company and Insurance through AFC Insurance Company, while the AFC Commercial Bank will support through banking services.
The scope of support covers smallholder farmers, medium and large-scale farmers, contracting entities, irrigation schemes, and various other value chain partners in the agricultural value chain.
Speaking on the same occasion, Mr Francis Macheka, AFC Holdings Group Chief Executive said, “We are pleased to note the progression we have made into becoming a one-stop -shop for development finance, commercial banking, insurance, and leasing with a special focus on agriculture development. The group consists of four strategic business units with a mandate to transform the agriculture sector. Our four (4) companies are working closely with the Government of Zimbabwe to drive towards vision 2030.”
He added that the AFC Land and Development Bank is fully committed and prepared to honor the national obligation to drive food security and improve access to finance for the approaching 2023/2024 summer season.
During the inaugural summer cropping season, the Land Bank funded a circa of 8,700 hectares of summer crop to the tune of ZWL$900 million which contributed about 44,700 metric tons to national grain production. It doubled that during the 2022/2023 summer season and financed about 13 710 hectares.
For the current winter wheat season, the bank financed about 17 400 hectares and is projecting over 78,000 mt of wheat, which is nearly double the hectarage we financed in our maiden year of operation.
For the coming Summer Cropping Season, it is targeting to finance at least 25,000 ha of Maize to the tune of $ZWL 137,5 billion and is projecting over 150,000mt of grain to feed into the national grain reserves.
In addition, the AFC Land Bank has also signed a US$8.35 million contract for a seed-revolving facility with the African Development Bank, through FAO. This fund will play a significant role towards the availability of finance during the summer cropping season.
“Farmers have started coming through to our branches throughout the country to initiate the process to access this funding. We are also pleased to note a significant of our now “regular” farmers who have been accessing this summer crop fund for a number of years now.
“Support to women and youth amounted to about 12% of total loans in 2021/22 and this has increased to 16% in 2022/23. Our aim is to ensure we remain women and youth-friendly to drive these ratios upwards.
“Through the Land & Development Bank and AFC Commercial Bank, we have signed a US$24m Belarus Tractor Facility with the Ministry of Finance for over 580 tractors to be accessed by farmers through financing facility. The facility has received an overwhelming interest with over 160 applications received to date and is playing a key role in driving access to mechanization services throughout the summer cropping season.”
The AFC Leasing Company has already covered significant ground in terms of land preparation for the summer season.
“We have about 22 AFC Leasing’s cluster centers which are spread all over the country to offer convenience to our farming communities. We have over 610 tractors and 60 Combine harvesters available to all farmers this summer season.”
In addition, the AFC Insurance will be fully supporting the insurance needs of the farmers throughout the summer cropping season.
Since its inception, AFC Insurance has provided crop insurance coverage for more than 50,000 hectares of both winter and summer crops and it is geared up to provide cover for more than 100,000 hectares in the 2023 – 2024 summer cropping season.
Additionally, AFC Insurance has successfully provided property and casualty insurance to its growing customer base offering coverage such as motor, homeowners, assets, liability, electronic equipment, and livestock insurance to name a few.
The AFC Holdings was established in April 2021 following the Government’s resolution to transform Agribank into a one-stop shop for agriculture financing.