Barclays Bank Zimbabwe has funded the Zimbabwe Farmers Union to assist 4, 000 farmers on a programme aimed to contribute to financial inclusion and food security across the cross.
The bank’s Managing Director, Sam Matsekete handed over $70 000 to the ZFU at the launch of the third phase of the “Fit for Life” programme, which also aimed to up-skill, educate and impact young farmers in Zimbabwe.
“We seek to play our part to ensure that tomorrow is better than today and this includes the future of the communities that we operate in,” said Matsekete. “We remain a part of the community and we are passionate about leaving things better than we found them.”
Principal Director in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, who was the guest of honour on the launch said that the project continues to change the lives of many youths who did not manage to continue with their formal education, and also requires persistence and determination from the beneficiaries for it to be successful.
Barclays Bank has managed to reach more than 30 000 young farmers through the ZFU partnership that dates back to February 2015 with an investment of about $500 000.
“When we initially partnered with the Zimbabwe Farmers Union in 2015, we were clear that we wanted to make a difference in the lives of what we believe is the most important element of our country – our youth,” Matsekete said.
“Together with the Zimbabwe Farmers Union our aim with the ‘Fit for life programme’ has been to assist young farmers to overcome some of the challenges they are facing challenges that might have inhibited them from accessing basic financial and business skills for sustainable growth in their projects.”
The Managing Director also said that Barclays, which has been in Zimbabwe for over 106 years has contributed tremendously to the agriculture industry.
The farming sector has not been performing well after the land reform programs as the new farmers who took over land had no capital and knowledge required for farming.
Zimbabwe’s farmers are having challenges in getting loans in banks due to lack of collateral.