Standard Bank Plc has launched a comprehensive range of loans aiming to empower both large and small-scale farmers in contributing to food security and Malawi’s export competitiveness.
The bank’s Head of Business and Commercial Clients Graham Chipande said at the launch in Blantyre the loans cover agro-processors, farmer cooperatives and those dealing in high-value cash crops such as tobacco, sugarcane, tea, macadamia, legumes, cereals, bananas and potatoes.
The finance packages include insurance cover.
“Our agribusiness solutions aim to empower both small and large-scale players across the value chain from farm to fork. Together with our partners Standard Bank aims to ensure that Malawi achieves food security while boosting capacity for agriculture commercialization, including export, in line with the first milestones of MW2063,” he said.
He said the bank’s fully-fledged agri-business department is offering expertise to guide customers choosing the right financing solution in line with their needs.
The financing solutions include Production Loans, Trade Finance, Working Capital Finance and Leasing for key cash crops and boosting the capacity of qualifying agriculture enterprises and cooperatives.
Production loans cover farm inputs, fertilizer, chemicals and other working capital requirements such labour during a crop cycle, while Trade and Working Capital loans provide short-term working capital support to facilitate trade and are suitable for processors, aggregators and agro-dealers.
Leasing and Finance covers assets that are clearly identifiable, moveable, durable, and insurable such as tractors, irrigation equipment, harrows, planters, combine harvesters and motor vehicles.
Standard Bank is also offering Long-Term financing to support capital expenditure of the business such as farm expansion, upgrading of infrastructure including construction of buildings, and other capital expenditure such as planting long term crops like Macadamia.
Chipande said realizing the risks that the agriculture sector faces due to adverse weather and climate change effects, Standard Bank has added a component of insurance.
“Our turn-key financing solutions come replete with the option of well-structured insurance products to cover associated risks, and ensure sustainability of the agriculture enterprises,” he said.
One of the beneficiaries of the bank’s loans Frederick Changaya said they have helped his grain milling company to scale up production capacity and expand product lines.
“When we started our company, we were turned down by other banks. But Standard Bank embraced us from the scratch. We are greatly indebted to them, and their loans are really well tailored,” said Changaya, a Blantyre-based miller who owns Applecore Grain and Milling LTD.