Zimbabwe banks discriminating against black farmers

Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Retired Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri

Black farmers who benefitted from  Zimbabwe’s controversial land reform programme are facing discrimination  from banks when applying for loans, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement Hon. Air Chief Marshal P. Shiri (Rtd) has said.

Speaking at a media briefing on Monday Shiri revealed that most financial institutions were not willing to fund black-owned farming enterprises in the aftermath of the land reform program.

“Government decided to finance our farmers because no one was willing to do so because banks were discriminating against our indigenous farmers,” he said.

In response , the government has proposed a private sector-led agriculture financing model which reduces the burden on the fiscus, while also creating sustainable farming enterprises.

Reports of discrimination against black applications do not affect Zimbabweans only. According to data recently made available from the US Federal Reserve in January this year, more than half of companies that have black owners were turned down for loans, a rate twice as high as white business owners. The report found that while black-owned firms were the most likely to have applied for bank financing, less than 47% of these applications were fully funded. Even when black business owners get approved, their rate of failure to receive full financing is the highest among all categories by more than 10%.