The Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) disbursed loans totaling N $ 217 million, benefiting a total of 1,301 farmers between April 2020 and March 2021.
This is what Fillemon Nangonya, head of public relations at Agribank, said in a statement released yesterday.
The bank, a public entity, is mandated to promote the growth and development of the agricultural sector by issuing affordable and innovative finance.
“Loans issued from April to September 2021 will only be reported at the end of the current fiscal year, although the total disbursement to date of August 2021 is estimated at N $ 70 million,” Nangonya said. .
The loans are expected to come in handy for farmers after weather experts predicted a good rainy season last week for most countries in the SADC region, including Namibia.
In the past, the bank has had problems with farmers failing to repay their loans, resulting in combined arrears of N $ 500 million. However, Nangonya said the bank has taken steps to rectify the situation.
“Note that the previous three years of drought, which reflected the worst consecutive drought in Namibia’s history ending in 2019, affected the agri-food industry.
“Although above average rainfall was recorded for 2020, this relief has allowed farmers to restock to some extent, but herds of cattle have not yet reached the levels required for many farmers to repay sustainably. their Agribank loans. “
He said that although the current arrears rate is 24%, the bank remains focused on preserving the business in a difficult operating environment, through rigorous management of bad debt provisions to ensure sustainability. form the bank.
“In the future, the bank made a promise to the shareholder at this year’s annual general meeting, to ensure the reduction of the arrears rate from 24% to 22%,” he said. declared.
According to Nangonya, the bank’s loans continue to benefit all Namibians in all regions, including communal farming areas.
“For the 2020/21 financial year, the regions with communal agriculture shared a total of 19% of the loans granted. In addition, an amount of N $ 13 million was exclusively advanced to communal farmers without collateral. “
To guarantee the repayment of the loan by the beneficiaries, the bank does not offer any collateral loans, mainly to salaried communal farmers, as the loan is repayable monthly by deduction from the salary, added Nangonya.
“For the emerging retail finance product, farmers are attached to a mentor approved by a bank for the duration of the loan facility.
“This is in addition to a compulsory training program in the production, management and marketing of the products for which the loan is requested,” he said.
According to the official, the bank also offered a loan program for women and young people in October 2020 that offers special treatment for agricultural professionals, flexible grace periods and tolerance for collateral shortages, a- he declared.
The funds will come from the N $ 357.4 million that Agribank has made available for all loan disbursements through March 2022.
Women and youth can access funds through three loan facilities, namely cash flow / contractual loans, wage-backed loans, and relaxed collateral requirements for farmland.
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