Farm­ers get $100m in­ter­est-free loans

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide - Love­more Zi­gara Mid­lands Bureau Oliver Kazunga Se­nior Busi­ness Re­porter

A CHI­NESE com­pany,Tian Ze Tobacco has since 2005 in­vested about $100 mil­lion in Zim­babwe’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor through pro­vid­ing in­ter­est-free loans to lo­cal farm­ers.

Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to Zim­babwe Mr Huang Ping said the in­vest­ment by the com­pany was set to in­crease as his coun­try seeks to trans­form Zim­babwe’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor.

“Tian Ze has pro­vided about $100 mil­lion in­ter­est-free loans and of­fered free tech­ni­cal guid­ance to the lo­cal tobacco farm­ers,” said Mr THE In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion (IFC) says 72 per­cent of the African health­care ser­vices are paid for out of pocket re­sult­ing in med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als on the con­ti­nent be­ing ex­posed to in­come in­se­cu­rity.

Dur­ing the re­cently held Health­care Fun­ders of Zim­babwe con­fer­ence in Vic­to­ria Falls, it emerged that in­come in­se­cu­rity was a cause for con­cern for med­i­cal prac­ti­tion­ers.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Health­care Fun­ders of Zim­babwe said:

“A key con­cern for med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als on the African con­ti­nent is in­come in­se­cu­rity. The In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion re­ports that 72 per­cent of African health­care ser­vices are paid for out of pocket, which puts health­care prac­ti­tion­ers at huge fi­nan­cial risk, es­pe­cially in times of eco­nomic down­turn.

“This drives med­i­cal tal­ent off­shore and does not sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of ser­vices in the coun­tries,” it said.

Speak­ing at the same oc­ca­sion, Lib­erty Health di­vi­sional direc­tor of mem­ber care Dr Nu­maan Ma­hamood stressed the im­por­tance of on­go­ing con­ver­sa­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion.

“Fund­ing health­care and es­tab­lish­ing qual­ity sys­tems re­quires shar­ing of in­sights, per­spec­tives and pro­to­cols. While reg­u­la­tors and fun­ders can play an over­sight role in terms of value de­liv­ery and sus­tain­abil­ity, health­care providers are the stew­ards of pa­tient health and must be ac­tive in the con­ver­sa­tion,” said Dr Mo­hamood.

He said their con­cerns as health­care fun­ders were sus­tain­abil­ity and value – not just for pa­tients, but for health­care pro­fes­sion­als too. Ping.

“We are hope­ful that in the fu­ture that tech­ni­cal sup­port will in­crease as we seek to en­sure that Zim­babwe’s agri­cul­tural sec­tor reaches its full po­ten­tial,” he said.

Tian Ze Tobacco is owned by China Tobacco Com­pany, which is owned by the Chi­nese govern­ment.

The com­pany be­came op­er­a­tional in 2005 fol­low­ing the sign­ing of a Me­moran­dum of Un­der­stand­ing be­tween the Govern­ment and China.

The main pur­pose of the MoU was to fa­cil­i­tate and strengthen col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Zim­babwe and the Asian coun­try in boost­ing Zim­babwe’s tobacco pro­duc­tion.

Specif­i­cally, Tian Ze was es­tab­lished with the pur­pose to as­sist farm­ers in Zim­babwe to in­crease pro­duc­tion as well as im­prove the qual­ity of their pro­duce.

From the on­set, Tian Ze Tobacco par­tic­i­pated on both pub­lic auc­tion floors and con­tract farm­ing.

Its con­tract farm­ing project kicked off with one farmer grow­ing 20 hectares of tobacco in 2005.

The con­tracted hec­tarage and the num­ber of farm­ers has grown over the years to 10 000 reg­is­tered farm­ers last year.

More farm­ers are ex­pected to reg­is­ter in the up­com­ing farm­ing sea­son un­der the com­pany’s con­tract ar­range­ment.

Med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als con­cerned over in­come in­se­cu­rity

“They need to know that they will be paid fairly and timeously for ser­vices ren­dered,” he said.

Dr Mo­hamood works with provider net­works to en­sure prac­ti­tion­ers un­der­stand how fee struc­tures and care pro­to­cols re­late to the long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of the health­care fun­ders.

He pointed out that in­sur­ers need to gain the trust of provider net­works.

It has been noted that in the past, small in­sur­ers have gone to mar­ket with se­lec­tive mem­ber­ship prod­ucts.

Due to their less com­pre­hen­sive prod­uct of­fer­ing, such providers were un­able to ac­com­mo­date fund­ing for sec­ondary and ter­tiary ser­vices re­sult­ing in lim­ited hospi­tal cov­er­age and re­duced ac­cess to ter­tiary care.

The so­lu­tion, ac­cord­ing to Dr Mo­hamood, is pop­u­la­tion level clin­i­cal risk man­age­ment and the en­trench­ment of ev­i­dence based med­i­cal pro­to­cols.

“When Lib­erty Health was es­tab­lished, there was lit­tle avail­able data on pop­u­la­tion health risk. We are now ac­tive in 22 African re­gions and have ad­e­quate in­for­ma­tion to de­sign and im­ple­ment sus­tain­able and com­pre­hen­sive fund­ing op­tions across bor­ders,” he said.

Del­e­gates and speak­ers to the con­fer­ence were drawn from mul­ti­ple sec­tors in­clud­ing health in­sur­ance, med­i­cal ser­vices and govern­ment, the an­nual con­fer­ence brings to­gether stake­hold­ers. — @okazunga.

Zimra of­fi­cial Makosazana Ku­ture ad­dresses par­tic­i­pants dur­ing a ZimTrade Ex­port Aware­ness Sem­i­nar at a Bu­l­awayo ho­tel yes­ter­day

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.