National Microfinance Bank to finance palm oil cultivation to cut on imports

TANZANIA – The National Microfinance Bank of Tanzania has ventured into financing palm oil cultivation with an aim to increase production as well as cover deficit met through imports.

Daily News reports that the bank is expected to partner with the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank Limited (TADB) in boosting palm oil production in Kigoma Region.

The partnership will enhance cultivation of palm tree in the region to boost national consumption requirements which stands way below the target figures.

A 2017 Bank of Tanzania Working Paper Series report on sunflower sub-sector indicates local production of both factory and home extracted sunflower seed oil contributes about 40% of edible oil requirement of 330,000 tonnes, with imported oil occupying a significant portion of the remaining 60%.

According to NMB Bank Business Head Wholesale Mr Filbert Mponzi, the bank has set aside more than US4218.78 million for boosting performance of the agriculture sector in the country, with major focus on smallholder farmers.

“We are in talks with TADB on how we can finance this area while engaging in financial capability programmes to support palm tree farmers as it is known that NMB has the widest branch network in the country unlike TADB,” said Mponzi.

“In making sure we cater for farmers in rural areas, we recently launched a mobile phone platform in order to allow farmers to open own bank accounts through their mobile phones and hence stand a better chance to benefit from capital loans offered by NMB bank.”

Support to smallholder farmers

The bank has rolled out a program to provide capital loans to farmers who had already commenced typical cultivating schemes.

Currently, the bank is supporting more than 1.5 million smallholder farmers who are cultivating various key cash and food crops.

To promote socio-economic development, the bank will support crucial sectors in the country through close partnership with the local government authorities.

Being part of the bank’s ‘Cooperate Social Responsibility (CSR), NMB will continue supporting other key sectors with a special focus to education – primary and secondary level and health sector.

Commenting on NMB’s bank initiative at the Association of Local Authorities (ALAT) Annual General Meeting in Dodoma, the Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa said: “Financial services are very significant in fostering economic development in the country, make sure you continue expanding your coverage in rural communities.”

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