UMGUZA District Agricultural Society has bemoaned the lack of financial support from banks saying it is threatening farmers’ viability in Matabeleland.
Famers in Umguza, one of the region’s biggest producers of cash crops such as cabbages, onions, tomatoes and maize, charged that it was hard for small-scale farmers to access lines of credit due to stringent conditions in the form of collateral security.
In an interview with Southern Eye Business, Umguza Agricultural Society secretary Lewis Mutsatsa said farmers were desperate for money to fund their projects, but the government was not forthcoming.
“Farmers in Umguza district are finding it hard to survive because of unavailability of farming equipment and lack of financial support from banks.
If farmers try to borrow money from these financial institutions they are made to submit under stringent conditions. For example they are made to pay within six months,” Mutsatsa said.
“I think it would be better if banks would make funds available for farmers and relax credit line conditions.
“This will improve food production in the country,” he added.
Mutsatsa added that lack of credit facilities was making it hard for farmers to start big projects like poultry and others. He said farmers needed more boreholes and the government should educate farmers on better productivity.
He lamented rats causing havoc in their fields destroying all kinds of crops including cabbage, carrots and tomatoes.
“This year we were hugely affected by mice throughout the district and they have left a trail of destruction as the rodents have a tendency of destroying seedlings.
What is disturbing is that we are failing to find suitable chemicals to do away with these animals,” he added.
Besides an influx of rats in Umguza district, the area was affected by cold weather conditions which affected thriving horticultural produce in the area denying farmers potential yields in the process.