The Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) will open a branch in Mwanza to serve the Lake Zone.

The move is aimed at reaching agriculture stakeholders even at the grassroots level.

Bank’s acting managing director Francis Assenga is currently leading a team to the Lake Zone to do groundwork ahead of the establishment.

On Friday, Mr Assenga, met Mwanza Regional Commissioner John Mongella and announced that the branch will play a key role in making credit access possible for farmers and entrepreneurs.

TADB he noted, is primed at playing a facilitative role to unlock the potential that exists in the Lake Zone.

“Our mission is to provide development loans at below market rates in support of the government’s transformative agenda,” said Mr Assenga.

The acting MD noted that Mwanza’s agricultural and industrial growth is largely constrained by low productivity and lack of knowledge on modern practices and technologies.

“But the greatest obstacle has been getting the finance to fix these problems and that is why we want to make forays in this zone,” Mr Assenga said.

“We want to address the limited financing available to agriculture which is characterized by focus on commodity trading, high interest rates, short-term loan maturities and rigid repayment terms without flexibility to accommodate the seasonal or cyclical nature of agriculture,” he said.

He said one of the models under study is variation of the centralized farming model where sponsors purchase the crop from farmers and processes or packages and markets the products to leverage on the value chain.

For his part, Mr Mongella said the coming of TADB in the Lake Zone means a lot in the fight against poverty.

The RC appealed that the bank look into innovative products to cut across all types of clients from small-scale, medium-scale and large-scale farming.

TADB is state-owned and was established to catalyse delivery of finance and related non-finance services and facilities to the agricultural sector that feeds approximately 75 per cent of the population.

Meanwhile, Mr Assenga yesterday visited Chobo Investment Company at Usagara in Misungwi District.The company deals in meat products. He challenged Tanzanian businessmen in agriculture, livestock and fisheries to deepen their knowledge in value addition to maximise income from their investments.

Firm’s boss John Chobo lamented over lack of support, pointing out that several banks have failed to offer affordable credit suitable to them.

I’m looking forward to TABD’s entry and hope it will listen to our needs,” noted Mr Chobo.

“I think TADB will be different from the rest because it is a government organisation and also the interest set for small and middle-sized entrepreneurs will be affordable,” he said.