BUUMBA CHIMBULU writes
OVER 800 small-scale sorghum farmers in Zimba, Southern Province, are currently being empowered by Zambian Breweries with digital financial skills through a technology based payment platform ahead of the 2020 buying season.
The company introduced the Chembe BanQu automated payment and tracking system to keep farmers safe during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
Zambian Breweries Agriculture Manager, Chris Nicolle, explained that the Chembe BanQu was not only part of the company’s commitment towards smart agriculture, but a way of fighting Covid-19 together with farmers.
Mr Nicolle explained that Chembe BanQu was faster and convenient for sorghum farmers to access finances during the Covid-19 outbreak.
He stressed in a statement yesterday that the smart agriculture was one of the 2025 Sustainability Goals that ZB was currently implementing.
“We are living in times of Covid-19, and we cannot take the health and safety of our farmers for granted. This system will champion social distancing by minimising queues at the bank, and in turn, reduce the risk of transmission. Moreover, farmers can receive their money anytime, anywhere,” he said.
Mr Nicolle said the company was targeting to have 100 percent of its direct farmers skilled, connected, and financially empowered in the next five years.
He said: “it is exciting to note that we are making strides towards achieving our goal on smart agriculture set by our parent company – AB InBev.”
Mr Mr Nicolle also said his company was working with Zanaco Bank to offer farmers quality financial services through the automated payment and tracking system.
“Together with Zanaco, we believe our sorghum farmers will receive top-notch financial services, from withdrawals to deposits,” he said.
The ZB agriculture manager explained that the 2020 sorghum buying season in Zimba would open as soon as farmers finished opening bank accounts.
“We would have already started buying sorghum by now, but we are just waiting for some of our farmers to finalise their account opening with the commercial bank,” Mr Nicolle observed.