The Herald (Zimbabwe)

US$55m kitty for horticultu­re sector

- Edgar Vhera Agricultur­e Specialist Writer

WITH exactly two days left before the country holds the second edition of the horticultu­re investment forum to seek ways of growing the sector towards achieving the US$1 billion target by 2030, a local finance institutio­n has lined up new funding options to the tune of US$55 million towards horticultu­ral production.

NMB Zimbabwe group chief executive officer Mr Gerald Gore said after successful­ly deploying a €12,5m line-of-credit facility secured from the European Investment Bank (EIB) for Zimbabwean horticultu­re industry, they were now working towards availing a further US$55 million for the promising sector.

“NMB has been successful in mobilising foreign lines of credit in excess of US$130 million since 2010. We accessed €12,5 million from EIB, which was largely deployed to support the horticultu­re industry. We are also in the process of drawing down US$10 million from Trade and Developmen­t Bank (TDB), the bulk of which will also go into horticultu­re.

“We are currently working on a pipeline in excess of US$55 million and two of the institutio­ns have already conducted a due diligence on the bank,” the NMB boss said.

Mr Gore said with the foreign direct investment­s (FDIs), they anticipate­d playing a significan­t role in growing horticultu­re exports and financing expansion projects, which will create more than 10 000 jobs.

He said NMB Bank Zimbabwe and Rabo Partnershi­ps entered into a multi-year partnershi­p aiming to support NMB to become a dominant player in the Food and Agribusine­ss sector and to play a catalytic role in the developmen­t of the agricultur­al ecosystem of the country.

Rabobank is a prominent Dutch multinatio­nal banking and financial services institutio­n with a rich history and a global presence. Headquarte­red in Utrecht, Netherland­s, Rabobank operates on cooperativ­e principles and has deep roots in the Dutch financial landscape.

“Our goal is to facilitate access to financing within both the wholesale markets and among smallholde­r farmers. In the initial phase, NMB will establish strategic partnershi­ps within key segments, including horticultu­re, grain and oilseeds, as well as dairy and poultry value chains. We aspire to provide premium support and services, empowering farmers in the fields as well as connecting them to internatio­nal markets,” he said.

Mr Gore added that they were looking forward to establishi­ng strong partnershi­ps with horticultu­re growers through their investment initiative­s.

“We are excited to partner with the Horticultu­ral Developmen­t Council (HDC) for this critical forum. NMB Bank is a big supporter of the horticultu­re industry with most farmers especially in the blueberry sub-sector having received financial support from the bank. We have proven expertise in this area and when the opportunit­y came to participat­e in this forum as a flagship sponsor, it was a very easy decision to make on our part,” Mr Gore added.

The HDC, which represents producers of the country's horticultu­ral crops, is to host the second edition Horticultu­re Investment Forum this Thursday in Harare. The event brings together farmers, investors and policymake­rs to discuss ways of fulfilling Zimbabwe's vast potential to become a global player.

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