PRIVATE Agricultural Sector Support (PASS) Trust was a centre of attraction at the just ended Nanenane exhibitions here, with hundreds of inquisitive visitors inquiring on availability of credit facilities.
PASS Managing Director Nicomed Bohay described the influx of curious wananchi as an indication that Tanzanians, especially the youth are gradually embracing modern agriculture, vowing to sustain PASS efforts to modernise the sector.
“Agriculture is the most lucrative economic undertaking in the country today…if you want to amass riches, get into agriculture,” Mr Bohay, whose institution scooped the top award on the Non-Governmental Organisation category, told visitors to the trust’s booth at Ngongo grounds here.
He said PASS has in this year directed special efforts to serve the disadvantaged groups in the society like youth and women.
“Through the Agribusiness Innovation Centre (AIC), PASS is determined to enhance agro-processing to increase value addition on agricultural products,” said Mr Bohay, assuring all agri-entrepreneurs of access to agricultural loans from over 12 financial institutions under PASS guarantee. Vice-President Samia Suluhu Hassan was among the visitors to whom Mr Bohay attended.
“I think you are doing a great job…I too need your service for a business plan,” jibed Ms Samia after getting briefings on PASS operations. Earlier, attending to visitors, PASS Relationship Manager Bahati Masuruli advised cashewnut and sisame growers to form groups for easy access to credit facilities to improve their operations.
“Within groups, it’s easy to get guaranteed loans from commercial banks that PASS works with,” the manager advised. Wananchi thronged the PASS booth to get understanding of the organisation operations and how to get assisted to access financial services.
According to the Trust’s statement at the exhibitions, PASS has since 2010 been participating in NaneNane events, with many benefits, including improved outreach throughout the country.
PASS’ main focus is to facilitate value chain financing, covering all needs of agro-entrepreneurs. It assists clients in preparation of solid and bankable investment projects before facilitating their access to funding through credit guarantee schemes, which it operates with commercial banks.
Currently, PASS guarantees loans from 12 partner institutions–CRDB Bank, National Microfinance Bank, Exim, TIB, ABC, Akiba Commercial Bank, Bank of Africa, Amana Bank, Equity Bank Ltd, Mkombozi Commercial Bank, Bank M and Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank.
And, plans are underway to link up with more commercial banks, community banks and rural financial institutions, according to Mr Bohay.