By Buumba Chimbulu

FIRST National Bank (FNB) has so far disbursed in excess of US$100 million to farmers and has since extended close to 35 per cent of its lending to the agriculture sector.

Brand and communications specialist, Luke Njovu said the bank had disbursed in excess of US$100m to farmers across the country between June 2016 and February 2017.

Mr. Njobvu said FNB had made the agriculture sector one of its key pillars of financing and that agriculture was a green industry hence the move by the bank to support it.

“What we have done as FNB is that we have realized that agriculture is a green industry rather than mining, so in promoting agriculture, we have done two things, we have made it one of our key pillars of financing so we have extended close to 35 per cent of our lending to the agriculture sector which is in excess of US$100m,” he said.

He was speaking in an interview at the ongoing 91st Agriculture and Commercial Show in Lusaka held under the theme “Promoting a Green Economy.”

Mr. Njovu said the bank had partnered with the Zambia Agriculture Commodity Exchange (ZAMACE) to promote an integrated platform for marketing commodities.

He explained that ZAMACE was an important platform for small-scale farmers as it allowed them to have a ready market for their produce and allows them to also have a transparent pricing platform.

Mr. Njovu observed that lack of market had remained one of the biggest challenges for the small-scale farmers in Zambia.

“We believe that with the development of the commodity exchange platform, it will allow small-scale farmers to have a market where they can take their produce but more importantly, it will allow them to have a transparent pricing platform,” he said.

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