A MARKET study on microfinance services in Zambia has revealed that many places in the country have not benefited from microfinance institutions (MFIs).
According to a report published by Agri-Pro Focus Zambia (APF), the study was conducted in Choma, Chipata, Kasama, Mkushi, Serenje and Lusaka districts with each area offering unique insights on particular aspects of agricultural and rural finance in the context of microfinance sector.
The report says the objective of the study was to gather market intelligence on microfinance institution, particularly those involved in agriculture and rural financing.
“APF in Zambia has undertaken this market study on microfinance services to understand existing opportunities for alternative financing in microfinance to smallholders and agro-enterprises in Zambia.
The study team visited only those financial institutions that had an active agricultural portfolio or had plans to introduce one in the respective districts,” it says.
The report further observes that the linkage between smallholder farmers, small and medium enterprise (SMEs) and financial institutions can be improved.
It says banks often provide strict conditions which usually require SMEs to provide collateral and this hinders those with low income especially in rural areas to access finance.
The report says despite the existing models being used by commercial banks and input suppliers that MFIs in Zambia provide, a lot needs to be done if positive results are to be achieved especially in the agriculture sector and rural areas.
SOURCE: Zambia Daily Mail
Apr 23, 2010 26
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