PADDY production in Dakawa Ward in Mvomero District, Morogoro Region has almost tripled, following the financial support extended to producers under the Private Agricultural Sector Support’s (PASS) guarantee.
“We have boosted our productivity from 15 bags per acre to between 35 and 45 bags,” Mr Evodis Mlokozi, a paddy grower at Dakawa Irrigation Scheme in Morogoro told journalists who visited the project, recently.
The peasant said he was currently producing 45 bags of rice per acre, his new target being to produce 60 bags. Interviewed farmers attributed the increased productivity to PASS guarantee, which has given them access to bank loans to invest in their farms.
“I started growing rice many years ago but with low productivity,” said Robert Materu, recalling the year he harvested eight bags from 12 acres. Mr Grayson Mangula said the financial support has enabled farmers to prepare their farms and plant timely as well as adhering to all recommended good agricultural practices.
“With the bank loans, we can plant on time, apply fertilizers and pesticides for the bumper harvests,” said Mr Mangula. The interviewees, mostly Jikwamue Dakawa Farmers Group members, urged fellow peasants to join the group to benefit from the PASS guaranteed loans.
Jikwamue is one of the ten groups under the rice growers’ cooperative society, which started in 2006.
During the 2015/16 farming season, 30 Jikwamue group members applied for and secured a 583m/- loan from CRDB Bank through PASS guarantee to intensify paddy production in Dakawa scheme. The loan brought to 1.18bn/- the total amount the group has so far received under the PASS arrangement.
The loan per farmer averaged at 7.7m/- for the 2013/14 season before soaring to 11m/- and 21m/- for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 farming seasons, respectively. The farmers use the loans for farm preparations, input purchases and payment for other farming costs and storage expenses.
Agricultural Extension Officer at Dakawa Augusta Matembo said the paddy growers at the area have huge potential of eradicating poverty among themselves through modern agronomic practices, with remarkable increase in yields.
“With these loans, it has become easy for farmers to heed the professional advice...to plant timely, apply fertilizers and pesticides,” said Ms Matembo, asking PASS and its partner banks to extend the services to other needy areas.
PASS, a non-banking financial organisation that facilitates provision of business development and financial services, was established in 2000 under the Agricultural Sector Programme Support.
It operated as a project until 2007 when it was registered as a trust, with similar mission to facilitate commercialization of subsistence farming. It as well operates as credit guarantee to commercial farmers and agri-businesses that run small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Its main focus is to facilitate value chain financing, covering all needs of agro-entrepreneurs.
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