I wish to respond to an article that appeared in yesterday’s issue of The New Times titled “Farmers appeal for agricultural loans”.
The story indicated that several farmers from Eastern Province had complained that agricultural loans were inaccessible and appealed to authorities to set up an agricultural bank.
In order to promote the agriculture sector, banking and microfinance institutions should give farmers access to agricultural loans with lower interest rates.
Many farmers are discouraged to borrow credit due to high interest rates and this could inadvertently have negative effects on the agricultural sector.
On the other hand, it is unfair for most financial institutions to expect farmers to start repaying loans before harvests. Those with loans should be given a grace period before repayment starts off.
I am sure that with cheaper and more accessible credit, standards of living among farmers would improve through increased household income.