BY FREEMAN MAKOPA

GOVERNMENT has appointed eight top executives to the Agricultural Finance Company (AFC) board, which is expected to provide financial support to farmers, mechanisation and promote capacity building of farmers and entities.

The AFC board members include some of Zimbabwe’s most successful business leaders like former Seed Co boss Denias Zaranyika, Syndicate Resources chief executive Nancy Tawengwa Guzha, former First Mutual managing director Ruth Ncube, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Shadreck Makombe, James Mutizwa (chair) of Chihambakwe-Mutizwa and Partners, farmer and former Zimbabwe Industry Tobacco Auction Centre executive Wilson Nyabonda and Rutendo Nhongonhema, who will represent government interests.

Announcing the board of directors last week, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement minister Anxious Masuka said the AFC board’s mandate was to help the country rebuild the agricultural sector.

“The board of highly-qualified and eminent business professionals is expected to advance the shareholder mandate for agriculture recovery, growth and food systems transformation, through elevated agricultural production and productivity,” he said.

“In particular, the role of the board shall be to support the overall agrarian transformation process for accelerated development of the country, to expand the provision of agriculture and rural financial services across the entire agriculture value chain from communal, old resettlement and A1, A2, and large scale commercial farmers by resuscitating the Agricultural Finance Corporation.”

The board was also tasked to reform, restructure, remodel, and transform the agro-lender, Agribank, into AFC Commercial Bank providing diversified banking and inclusive financial services to all categories of farmers.

The financial institution has a mandate of “establishing a vibrant AFC Land bank to provide financial support to all categories of farmers, supporting agriculture value chains and agro-processing entities, supporting irrigation and infrastructure development, supporting mechanisation and promoting capacity building of farmers and entities,” the minister added.