By Scoop Reporter
ZAMBIAN Breweries is empowering over 800 small-scale sorghum farmers in Zimba, Southern Province, with digital financial skills through a technology-based payment platform called Chembe BanQu ahead of the 2020 buying season.
Zambian Breweries Agriculture Manager Chris Nicolle says Chembe BanQu is faster and convenient for sorghum farmers to access finances during the COVID-19 outbreak and that his company introduced the automated payment and tracking system to keep farmers safe during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Nicolle says his company is working with Zanaco Bank to offer farmers quality financial services through the automated payment and tracking system.
“Chembe BanQu is not only part of our commitment towards smart agriculture, but a way of fighting COVID-19 together with farmers,” Mr. Nicolle explained that smart agriculture was one of the 2025 Sustainability Goals that ZB was currently implementing.
“It is exciting to note that we are making strides towards achieving our goal on smart agriculture set by our parent company – AB InBev. Our target is to have 100% of our direct farmers skilled, connected, and financially empowered in the next five years,” Mr. Nicolle said.
He says his company realises that in the midst of COVID-19, there is need not to take the health and safety of farmers for granted and that this system will champion social distancing by minimising queues at the bank, and in turn, reduce the risk of transmission.
“Farmers can receive their money anytime, anywhere. 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,” he said.
Earlier, ZB announced the use of Chembe BanQu in this year’s cassava buying season scheduled to commence at the beginning of the hot season.
The system is not only used for bank transactions, but for financial literacy and mapping farmers.