VARIOUS stakeholders in the cashew nut sector in the country have welcomed a new service dubbed 'NBC Shambani' that is offered by the National Bank of Commerce (NBC).
The stakeholders expressed optimism that it will solve several challenges facing farmers, including failure to provide them with loans at the right time.
Speaking during cashew nut stakeholders meeting - farmers, businesspeople as well as those transporting cashew nut said one of the major challenges- was access to loans and that with the new service; they can now easily take loans from NBC.
"Despite having access to various financial services from different financial institutions, there have been unprecedented delays in acquiring loans, something that has been making farmers to use their money for unintended purposes, therefore, it is our expectation that with the coming of 'NBC Shambani we believe this will be one of the solutions," said Mr Salum Muhila, a cashew nut grower.
Earlier, while explaining to clients on how the service operates, NBC's Head of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Raymond Urassa, said 'NBC Shambani' targets all stakeholders including distributers of agricultural products, farmers as well as those supplying agricultural inputs, among others.
"Keeping in mind that 'NBC Shambani' came specifically for agriculture stakeholders; it means that its efficiency can be assessed by looking how it suggests solutions for various challenges including timely issuance of loans to farmers so that the money is used for intended purpose.
He added that the new service provides an opportunity to farmers who are working together in groups like Agricultural Marketing Co-operative Societies (AMCOS) to have group accounts as well as individual accounts to farmers.
"NBC account to groups of farmers helps them to store their money in the accounts without being charged operational costs, receiving details of their accounts without any charges and when transferring money for paying farmers, the accounts are not charged any cost," he insisted.
Recent reports from the ministry of agriculture show that, the government is currently reassessing the agricultural market policy including the issue of contract farming so that farmers can know the prices of agricultural products on time.