The government has directed buyers of agricultural produce to pay farmers through their bank accounts.
The move will help farmers avoid unnecessary disturbances when receiving their payments and incorporate them into formal financial system, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Investment), Angela Kairuki said at the ongoing Nane Nane National Agricultural Exhibition Show in Simiyu region.
Minister Kairuki’s directive follows several issues raised by NMB Bank’s Western Zone Manager, Sospeter Magesse, including cotton farmers being paid in cash despite having bank accounts.
Magesse noted that part of the bank’s participation in executing of the cotton farming transformation strategic mission, they have opened 86,000 banks accounts for farmers of the crop in Simiyu.
“Our fear is that these accounts may end up not being used since cotton buyers here pay farmers using cash, which is not a healthy trend for our financial inclusion endeavours,” Magesse told Minister Kairuki, asking the minister to help address the anomaly.
According to him, the bank has been playing an active role in the implementation of the Simiyu region’s Five-Year Strategic Plan (2019-2024) to Revolutionise Cotton Farming through several interventions, including lending to the crop’s value chain stakeholders.
The NMB official stated that the bank has been providing Tsh1.9 billion for the rehabilitation of warehouses for the crop that has deteriorated to an alarming point. This is one of the bank’s outstanding contributions in the cotton farming reform strategy.
Magesse pointed out that the investment was going to help boost efforts to create a robust infrastructure of cotton storage facilities in the region, which is one of the top producers of the cash crop in the country.
Cotton produce is the leading economic activity in Simiyu whose commercial value and fortunes the strategic plan seeks to boost by addressing challenges encountered in its growing such as absence of ready markets and reliable sources of capital.
NMB has been educating farmers on financial management through training sessions like the ones being held at their pavilion for members of various Agricultural Marketing Co-operative Societies (AMCOS) in the region.
The bank also managed to bring together and empower 26 AMCOS participating in this programme to revolutionise cotton farming whose successful execution they want to ensure materialises by lending to farmers and their AMCOS.