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MBABANE – The Centre for Financial Inclusion (CFI) has signed agreements that will ensure that farmers have an opportunity to access affordable finance under the FINCLUDE Project.

The FINCLUDE project is meant for farmers that are between the ages of 18-35, lack financial resources and face many barriers that inhibit their growth into commercial farming.The CFI, as part of implementation of the FINCLUDE Project has signed an agreement with the Eswatini National Agricultural Union (ESNAU), EswatiniBank and Imbita Women’s Finance Trust. This then led to the formation of three programmes aimed at addressing the above-mentioned challenges, especially for youth farmers.


These programmes are known as the Youth Input Subsidy programme in partnership with ESNAU, the FINCLUDE Financing Instrument for Risk Management (FIRM) with EswatiniBank; and the FINCLUDE Fund with Imbita Women’s Finance Trust. CFI chief executive officer (CEO) Nomcebo Hadebe said FINCLUDE’s goal was the improvement in prosperity and resilience of poor and vulnerable Swati smallholders and micro-entrepreneurs. She said the key commodities were red meat, poultry, piggery, vegetable and legumes.

She said they were mainly targeting women and youth and the total outreach of FINCLUDE would be 18 500 farms and non-farm enterprises, improved market access through organised and coordinated cluster operations, promote private and public goods investment through infrastructure development and access to financial products developed by the project and through partnerships with financial institutions.


“Ultimately FINCLUDE intends to improve access to markets, profits, improve private investments, and increase national capacity to deliver inclusive clusters, as well as, infuse climate resilience and climate finance mainstreamed into rural finance operations,” she said. Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg added that ESNAU has been a key implementing partner of the FINCLUDE Project from inception and as such, they have officers that have been seconded to the project as part of the implementation arrangement. He said ESNAU and CFI have concluded the Input Subsidy programme which was termed ‘Step-Up’.


“It is of paramount importance that we channel resources toward our youth as a means of encouraging them to take the wide range of opportunities available in the agriculture sector. Through the FINCLUDE Project we have identified some youth success stories that this country can grow and benefit from to expand the sector,” added Rijkenberg. The minister further mentioned that the FINCLUDE project with Eswatini Bank sets to improve access to productive credit for smallholder farmers by also potentially linking it with the Governments Small Scale Enterprise Loan Guarantee Scheme. He also explained that the fund product with Imbita was aimed at fostering the importance of financial literacy to ensure that they create financially healthy and capable farmers.