Agribank advisory services pay dividends

AGRIBANK has invested N$12,8 million as part of its agri-advisory services division (AASD) and has benefited more than 36 000 agri-enterpreneuers in the country in the last four years.

The division was set up to help transfer productivity knowledge and skills to farmers countrywide.

“Of the 36 013 agri-enterpreneurs, 70% are small-scale farmers based in the country’s communal and rural areas, while 120 clients of the bank are being mentored,” said a statement from the bank.

“As a result of this intervention and robust stakeholder engagements – especially over the past two years – loans for poultry projects increased by 188% to N$1,99 million in the financial year ending February 2022 from N$694 551 in the FY2020/21,” the statement says.

Loans to young people (clients below 35 years old) increased by 75% to N$19 million year to date, with 44 beneficiaries, compared to N$10,9 million with 27 beneficiaries in the 2020/21 financial year, mostly for livestock production, the bank says.

Mentorship has resulted in a significant reduction in livestock mortality rates for mentees from 23% for cattle in the 2019/20 financial year, to 6% in 2020/21.

In addition, the bank says cattle off-take rates have increased over the mentorship period from 14% in the 2018/19 financial year to 34% in 2020/21.

“This signifies an increase in the production of marketable animals and the adoption of business principles in farming to create wealth,” the bank says.

AASD uses face-to-face, two-day short courses, lectures, practical sessions, excursions, farmers’ information days, published articles, radio broadcasts, as well as social media platforms to interact with farmers.

During the 2021/22 financial year, short training courses focused on building capacity in diversified farming enterprises such as poultry, crop, horticulture, and hydroponic production.

“This has greatly contributed to building Namibian farmers’ resilience to climatic changes and shocks,” the bank says.

The statement says women and the youth formed 60% of the participants in the training courses geared to prepare the farmers to survive adverse climate conditions that prevent them from participating in the meat, horticulture, and agronomy value chains.

To ensure continuity in free service delivery to farmers, the bank entered a two-year agreement with GIZ in February 2021 to co-finance agri-advisory services focusing on women and youth, the statement says.

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