NMB Bank is keen to help promote agricultural exports, which is one of the reasons it is this year participating for the first time at the Agricultural Dealers’ and Manufacturers’ Association (ADMA) Agrishow at Harare’s Borrowdale Racecourse.
Its participation at the expo, which is the premiere agricultural event for commercial farmers, provides farmers with the opportunity to learn about the facilities and services NMB Bank offers them and the approach the bank takes to agribusiness.
NMB is particularly interested in helping revive the country’s horticultural sector, in addition to financing other export crops.
“Zimbabwe used to be the largest exporter of horticulture in the region. We believe the country has the potential to once again become a major exporter of horticultural products,” NMB Bank corporate banking head Fanwell Mutogo said.
“A lot of the bank’s farming clients are growing blueberries for export. We are excited about their export potential and the export potential of other horticultural products,” he said.
Mr Mutogo said that NMB’s approach to agribusiness was one of engagement and flexibility. He said the bank offers a customised service to farmers, becoming involved with the farmer from the onset and monitoring the progress of the crop at every stage.
“We believe it is important to engage our farming clients, visit their farms, get to know their particular business and needs, find out their objectives and, where there are financing gaps, propose ways in which we can assist them,” he said.
He said there were many ways in which NMB assists farmers. It could help finance the capital expenditure required for the purchase of farm machinery, for instance.
The bank offers lease finance, as an effective way of acquiring plant and machinery without the huge capital expenditure that would be required to purchase the items outright or the need for collateral that would be required for a loan.
With lease finance, the bank purchases the equipment, machinery or vehicle the farmer requires and leases it to the farmer over a period, at the end of which the farmer can purchase it for its residual value.
Exporters of agricultural produce can obtain short-term foreign currency loans from the bank, repayable in foreign currency.
The bank also offers trade finance facilities, such as letters of credit, pre and post-shipment finance and bridging finance on open accounts.
The bank also offers the normal seasonal finance facilities to the agricultural sector. In addition, the bank offers tail end facilities to farmers who have sold their crop but not yet been paid for it. This enables them to meet urgent expenses while waiting for payment.
NMB’s agribusiness manager is a qualified agronomist, who thus has a deep understanding of the sector.
To qualify for financing facilities a farmer should have at least basic infrastructure on the farm. Water is a critical consideration in view of changes in the environment.
“We are involved with our farmers from land preparation through to cropping and harvesting to avoid surprises,” Mr Mutogo said.
“We have a deliberate bias towards those farmers who export or have the potential to export, for the benefit of themselves and the nation, because we believe exporting is critical given where we are as a country,” he said.
He added that there would be agribusiness staff at the NMB stand at the ADMA expo to provide detailed information on the ways in which NMB could assist farmers.