Related Stories By Farirai Machivenyika Published: 20120528

Harare - Zimbabwe’s Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, has hit out at foreign banks that are not funding agriculture and other productive economic sectors.

DPM Mutambara said this during a question-and-answer session in the Senate this past week.

He said while the government had done its part in funding agriculture, the financial services sector had done very little to support its efforts.

“We should understand agriculture as a business.

The model that says government must provide is a flawed (one).

“We should find ways that the private sector funds agriculture.

These banks Standard Chartered, Barclays, MBCA must fund agriculture.

“If they do not we should take action, the problem we have in this country is that banks are reactionary. Maybe it is because they do not support the land reform programme.

“We should find sticks and carrots to find ways the financial sector can fund agriculture,” he said.

Most financial institutions are reluctant to fund agriculture and have set stringent regulations that most new farmers cannot meet.

In instances that funding is available the loans are short-term and not compatible with the economics of farming.

DPM Mutambara added that the government had sufficient funds to ensure people in areas affected by drought do not starve.

Most areas in the Matebeleland provinces and parts of the Midlands and Manicaland provinces were hit by drought, with inhabitants of those areas requiring food aid until the next harvest.

“No Zimbabwean should go without food and we want to do it (food distribution) in a non-partisan manner,” he said.

He said the government was working on a three-year rolling programme to prevent haphazard planning in agriculture funding, which has resulted in farmers accessing inputs late and this impacting negatively on productivity.