GOVERNMENT is set to issue non tradable two-year Treasury Bills amounting to $150 million to fund soya bean production while oil producers are mobilising up to $100 million of inputs including soya bean production.
Government is this year pursuing Command Soya and all planning and coordination is being undertaken under Command Centre chaired by the Office of the President.
Sakunda Holdings, who funded the 2016-17 agricultural season to the tune of $192 million, will this time work with financial institutions CBZ, Ecobank and Barclays to provide $48 million funding for soya bean production under the Command scheme.
Following the success of the agricultural schemes last season, banks are stampeding to be part of the process and Sakunda Holdings is negotiating with two other banks other than CBZ, Barclays and Ecobank, who want to be part of the programme.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development (Crop Production) Deputy Minister Davison Marapira told Business Weekly that the success story of last season’s command programme generated a lot of interest from various companies who want to fund soya bean production.
“Government is in the process of mobilising $150 million for the 2017/ 18 Command Soya Bean Scheme. Of the amount Government has secured an $80 million facility to fund the 2017/ 18 soya bean production with Sakunda Holdings having already committed $47, 8 million towards the facility. The balance of $70 million is expected to come from private players.
Of the total amount Government will provide TBs worth $100 million on behalf of the farmers.”
Deputy Minister Marapira said the TBs issued to Sakunda Holdings will be non-tradable and will be surrendered back to Treasury once farmers pay back what they owe.
“The TBs will be held by CBZ and Ecobank. A point to note is that both Treasury and RBZ have mechanisms to monitor the status of the Treasury Bills issued in line with terms and conditions,” he said.
The TBs will be issued before the distribution of inputs as financiers are demanding security upfront. This security will be provided in case farmers fail to pay or in the event of any catastrophe.
Agreements on the supply of inputs have been concluded and soya bean seed will be supplied by companies such as SeedCo, Arda Seeds and Pioneer among others while fertiliser companies include Sable, Windmill, Ferts Seeds and Grain (FSG). Chemicals will be supplied by Fossil Agro, CP Chemicals and Cure Chem among other companies.
He said: “We are targeting to produce over 300 000 hectares of soya bean next summer cropping season to fulfill the national demand of 600 000 tonnes of soya bean.