16 Apr 2014 10:30am
WINDHOEK, 16 APR (NAMPA) The Agricultural Bank of Namibia (AgriBank)s Chief Executive Officer Leonard Iipumbu says the banks current loan-book stands at N.dollars 2.4 billion.
He revealed this at the one-day Organisation of African Unity(OAU)/Africa Union (AU) Golden Jubilee conference underway with the theme Women, Agriculture and Food Security in the capital on Tuesday.
Iipumbu explained that this loan-book includes money which went to Namibians as loans for agricultural purposes.
With this provision of credit or loans to Namibian farmers, over 30 000 permanent jobs and 70 000 temporary jobs were created.
The bank is currently also offering credit for preferred products such as land acquisition as well as crop and horticultural production, amongst others.
Only a few Namibian women applied for agricultural loans from the bank for individual agricultural projects, Iipumbu stated.
The main challenge facing women to access credit is the issue of collateral, he noted.
The bank is furthermore working hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to assist people without collateral through the Loan Guarantee Fund (LGF).
This Fund was established to assist those who do not have collateral as a requirement to acquire loans from AgriBank, but who have to register with the LGF as a cooperative.
Speaking at the same occasion, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representative and United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator Musinga Bandora said agriculture and food security are the main catalysts for job-creation and the eradication of poverty in Africa.
Africa has a growth of about 6.1 per cent of food security, but a high rate of malnutrition. The continent is also consuming 50 per cent of food it produces, and 50 per cent of imported food, he added.
Africa faces challenges of the low implementation of government policies, and limited agricultural institutions, Bandora noted, adding that there is indeed a need to empower small-scale farmers in order to strengthen agricultural capacity and promote regional integration.
The conference was attended by Government ministers, regional councillors, governors, farmers as well as civil society representatives.