Agriculture financing tops $576 mln in March



Zimbabwe still needs to import close to 600 000 metric tonnes of maize to ensure the country has enough supplies for food and to maintain the strategic grain reserves at the level they are supposed to be.

Under the Grain importation programme, Government is targeting to import 1.36 million metric tonnes valued at $560.91 million during the period Feb-December 2016.According to Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development deputy director Collen Kabudura, the country had, as of July 5 imported 150 270.75MT out of the 738 389.48MT it had contracted to various companies.

Maize imports are mainly coming from Zambia, Mexico, South Africa and Ukraine.

Kabudura said overall including efforts from the private sector a total 289.62 million kgs of maize grain and 1.86 million kgs of maize meal had been imported by May 31.

He was speaking at a ZimAsset update workshop organised by the OPC.

Total maize stocks in the strategic grain reserve as at July 5 stand at 149 595MT against the required minimum level of 500 000MT.

Kabudura said a total of 80 551MT of maize, 533MT of Wheat and 4MT of small grains had been procured locally by GMB as at 5 July 2016.The Agricultural Marketing Authority will float $50 million bills for the 2016 maize purchase after having settled the $12 million AMA bonds.

“The $12 million AMA bonds issued under Banc ABC facility matured on 17 May 2016 and were settled accordingly, discussions are underway to have the same amount rolled over for 180 days guaranteed by treasury bills. AMA requested and was granted authority to float an additional $50 million bills for 2016 maize purchase.”

According to Kabudura, the total agriculture portfolio size for banks and micro finance institutions as at March 31, 2016 was $576.73 million. Total disbursements were $466.74 million as follows: $105 642 803 Crop production, $32 864 268 Livestock production, $18 120 236 Support to seed houses, $50 940 222     Support to fertiliser companies, $259 180 408 Support to contractors.

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