The Sustainable Agriculture Financing Facility (SAFF) in Siavonga is making positive strides, according to Anderson Mutinta, the Siavonga District Agriculture Coordinator.
This government initiative supports both small and large-scale farmers by providing access to agricultural loans in the form of farm inputs.
In an interview with ZANIS, Mutinta reported that the credit facility window has garnered a good response from farmers in the district, with 15 applications received so far.
The Department of Agriculture introduced this initiative, making the loan facility accessible to all farmers, including civil servants. Screening criteria include farming experience, land ownership, and other relevant factors.
Mutinta disclosed that the government has collaborated with various banks to facilitate the application process based on credit criteria. Sensitization awareness campaigns have been conducted in the district to ensure that farmers are well-informed about the loan facility and the necessary steps to access it.
The SAFF is seen as a crucial step to enhance food security and production in the country, with a specific focus on increasing maize production. Mutinta urged civil servants and other interested farmers to participate in the grant scheme, emphasizing its significance in securing food security.
William Bwalya, the Chairperson of the United Public and Allied Workers Union of Zambia in the district, welcomed the SAFF initiative, expressing the belief that it would stimulate production in the agriculture sector.
Mr. Bwalya encouraged civil servants to take advantage of the opportunity and access the loan facility to contribute to increased food production.
Siavonga District Commissioner Geofrey Jakopo appealed to farmers and civil servants to utilize the government initiative, emphasizing its role in boosting the agriculture sector and addressing the rising prices of essential commodities like mealie-meal.
He directed interested parties to visit the Office of the District Agriculture Coordinator for a successful application process.