Commercial agriculture finance in Zimbabwe
past experiences and lessons for the future
Keywords:Agriculture finance, Commercial agriculture, Hybrid Financing Schemes
The renewed commitment and interest by African leaders to modernize agriculture due to increased global demand for food; need to address sustainable development goals and a general decline in traditional funding sources for agriculture has reignited the long standing debate on the best approach to financing agriculture. Agricultural finance is viewed as a vital instrument for realizing economic and social integration of both small and large farm households. Using content analysis, this paper reviewed historical experiences in financing commercial agriculture, paying special attention to policy initiatives made since the colonial era up to present day. It highlights challenges and head way made in funding commercial agriculture. A review of success cases elsewhere has been made and related to the current challenges Zimbabwe is experiencing, leading to recommendations on what should be done to ensure that farm activities are fully financed with special consideration of hybrid financing schemes for commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe. What emerged from the literature and historical experiences of Zimbabwe is that unplanned and ad-hoc state interventionists’ policies do not work, but rather a well-coordinated effort by all stakeholders particularly the private sector in harnessing savings towards agriculture is the master stroke to realising full potential of agriculture. The State role should be confined to regulatory and incentivising with limited direct funding to agriculture. Hybrid financing models proved to yield better results the world over in transforming commercial agriculture particularly to economies that embarked on land reform programs.
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