CRDB Bank has issued 650bn/-direct loans to farmers last year, being the highest amount to be offered by a single lender in the country.
The bank, one of the largest lenders in the country, now controls 40 per cent of the total loans directed to agricultural sector. The loans were issued through FahariKilimo account.
The lender move pulled the Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan to ask other financial institutions to come with pro-farmer products such as CRDB's FahariKilimo that carried a number of benefits in a bid to create a sustainable value addition chain and push the sector growth further.
"I urge more farmers to take advantage of these opportunities, especially women who are 65 per cent more active in agriculture than men," Ms Hassan said when visited the lender's pavilion at the ongoing Nanenane fair at Nyakabindi grounds in Simiyu.
She was also pleased to learn that over 146,000 farmers in the country have so far opened FahariKilimo account and benefited from more than 650bn/- loans.
However, the VP thus call upon banks to set concessional terms in agricultural loans to enable farmers to easily access credit at affordable rates.
The VP said concessional terms in agri-loans will provide a wide opportunity for farmers to take out loan to expand the sector, which is the backbone of the country.
"I have seen [CRDB] have been reducing interest rates for various loan segments including rate on agricultural loans for women through Malkia [Queen] Account from 24 per cent to 14 per cent," Ms Hassan said.
Explaining the Government's strategy in formalizing farmers to create a conducive environment for access to credit in financial institutions, the Vice President said the Government through the National Identification Authority (NIDA) has continued the process of formalizing farmers through special farmers' IDs to give them the opportunity to be recognized by financial institutions in the country.
Also the Ministry of Agriculture has prepared a strategic plan to assess farmers' land across the country, which will also assist them increase the value of their land.
CRDB's Chief Financial Officer Fredrick Nshekanabo said the FahariKilimo account is part of the bank's broader strategy to serve farmers more closely based on their needs.
"This account is opened completely free of charge and there is no operating cost for the farmers, aiming to give them relief of receiving their payment at fullest after selling the crop," Mr Nshekanabo said.
Apart from accessing credit, the farmers are also trained on improving their various farming methods and servicing the loan.
Nshekanabo told the Vice President that "CRDB provided 40 per cent of total agricultural loans in the country" indicates the bank's readiness to improve the agricultural sector of this land.
Last year alone, CRDB has dished out some 650bn/- to farmers of which 97.3bn/- were spent on cotton crops to buy seeds (36bn/-); and to pay farmers (61bn/-). Others for sugarcane cultivation (167.3bn/-), coffee farming (36.6bn/-), tea cultivation (60bn/-).
CRDB has been providing loans for inputs, tractors, planting machines, irrigation machines, building materials as well as loans to agri-industry investment in an effort to help the government improve the agricultural sector in the country.