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April 02, 2009

Mozambique signs US$25 million farm deal with Standard Bank

Mozambique has signed a US$25 million loan with South Africa’s Standard Bank for the purchase of seeds and fertilizer as part of the country’s bid to boost agricultural output, Agriculture Minister Soares Nhaca said.

“We have signed the US$25 million loan deal with Standard Bank (and) we are working on how to operationalise the funds,” the minister said. “We hope to get the money in our hands in August and we are going to fund the purchase of quality seeds, fertilizer and plant the land and loan some it (money) to the producers,” he said.

Standard Bank said recently that it would provide US$100 million over three years for loans to small-scale farmers and agricultural business operators in Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

Traditionally, banks have been unwilling to lend to small-scale farmers on the basis that they lack adequate collateral, and as a consequence, farmers are unable to afford the fertilisers, seeds and irrigation equipment needed to boost their activities.

Mozambique plans to increase its grain harvest by 13 percent in 2009/2010 from 2.6 million tonnes in 2008/09 to cut on food imports. The agriculture sector has been allocated 10 percent of the US$4 billion in the 2009 state budget to help it purchase and improve the quality of seeds, as well as to introduce irrigation and mechanised farming. Mozambique has immense agricultural potential, with an estimated 36 million hectares of arable land. Out of this, only 10 percent is presently in productive use.

APA News

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