IN an effort to raise agricultural production in the country, the government through Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) has set aside 209bn/- as ‘soft loans’ to purchase agricultural inputs in the sector.
The revelation was made yesterday in Dar es Salaam by Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning, Dr Khatib Kazungu, adding that the fund will enable the farmers to acquire the loans for their medium and long term farm related activities.
“The government has assured TADB of its commitment to increase its bank capital to reach 800bn/-,” said Dr Kazungu, while in an event to sign a contractual agreement with the bank on the fund.
He hinted that the fund will enable TADB to support the government in its National Development Plan of 2016- 2021 which aims at improving agricultural value chain in the country and create more job opportunities for youth and improving local food security.
Dr Kazungu said the funds will address the major problem farmers have been facing including paying back their loans within 5 to 10 years as required by some commercial banks in the country.
On his side, TADB acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Francis Assenga, said his institution has so far issued short term ‘soft loans’ to about 3,700 farmers since its establishment. He said he expects the loans to be recovered within 5 to 15 years.
Mr Assenga encouraged women and the youth to form groups and benefit from the loans in order to raise their livelihoods. While thanking the government for the support, he promised to give the group priority and also finance institutions which are out to help them.
Mr Assenga equally thanked President John Magufuli for his commitment to support the bank, saying: “Dr Magufuli walks his talk as he pledges to support the youth and TADB, as he has promised.”