PASS vows to boost farmers

PASS vows to boost farmers

In this year's Nanenane show, PASS took part in three different regions of Dodoma, Mbeya and Morogoro and won trophies in all the three zonal fairs. In Dodoma, PASS clinched number two in the NGO category while it emerged number one in Morogoro in the Financial Services category.  It took number two in Mbeya zone in the Agricultural Service provider category.

Talking to journalists in Dodoma over the weekend, PASS Managing Director, Mr Iddy Lujina, said they have vowed to reach as many people as possible in the country to boost the agricultural sector. "We are striving to reach more farmers at the end of this year by opening up more branches in various regions," he said.

He said they are working hard in line with the government's agriculture first or Kilimo Kwanza initiative and the Southern Agriculture Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT) because they believe that agriculture has the ability to spearhead the nation's development.

On his part, one of the PASS beneficiaries, Mr Papian Emmanuel thanked the NGO for what they do to serve agriculture sector. "I call upon other institutions in the country to follow PASS footprints by serving farmers in the country and help them out of poverty," Mr Papian said.

According to Mr Lujina, PASS's clients comprise groups of small farmers, individual farmers, agro-processors and others in the sector whose number has reached around 45,000 so far. "We have facilitated loans of approximately 95bn/-," he said.

In 2011 PASS supported agri-business enterprises and farmer groups; SACCO cooperatives, farmers associations and women groups involved in agricultural activities.   In the past year alone over 11,000 farmers all over Tanzania got loans worth Tshs 21.5 billion for inputs, irrigation, tractors, agro-processing and trucks.

"Impressive productivity gains have been achieved in supported projects in various sub-sectors," he said. He listed the sub-sectors as coffee, tea, paddy, maize, sunflower, sugar cane, and livestock.   In 2011 PASS supported loans in crop and livestock production (40 per cent), farm mechanisation (29 per cent), agro processing and trading (27 per cent) and rural trucks (three per cent).

The NGO has set special concessionary loan terms for women entrepreneurs to enable them qualify for more bank loans.   According to Mr Lujina, PASS has also achieved an excellent loan repayment rate of over 95 per cent, and the collaborating banks are progressively getting more encouraged in financing agricultural investments.   Plans are underway to open new branches in Kilimanjaro and Mtwara regions this year.  Currently, the NGO has offices in Mbeya, Mwanza, Morogoro and Dar es Salaam regions.

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MORE than 125 billion cubic feet of natural gas ...

Author: Correspondent, Dodoma

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