AgriBank spends N$75m on NACP
AgriBank has spent N$75 million on loans extended to small farmers under the National Agricultural Credit Scheme (NACP) in 2014 comparing to N$29 million spent in 2013, says the Chief Executive Officer of AgriBank, Leonard Iipumbu.
Iipumbu said the 159 percent increase of loans from 2013 to 2014 is indicates the demand from communal farmers despite the restrictive nature as a result of the lack of collateral.
“The loans extended under the National Land Reform Program for the acquisition of commercial farm-land by previously disadvantaged Namibians have also seen growth of 125 per cent to N$157. 7 million, which purchased 141,430.39 hectares,” he said.
Iipumbu said AgriBank has financially assisted previously disadvantaged Namibians acquire a total of 5.8 million hectares contributing towards the targeted 15 million hectare by 2020.
Iipumbu further stated that the agricultural sector has been facing big challenges including a severe drought in 30 years, disease outbreaks and export restrictions by South Africa, which is the main trading partner of Namibia. The CEO said AgriBank has performed beyond expectations by approving loans totaling N$386 million in 2014, and growth in the loan book by 18 percent from N$1.95 billion to N$2.3 billion. “This investment intervention created or maintained an estimated 2 367 permanent and 4 734 temporary jobs,” Iipumbu said.
Furthermore, Iipumbu said in 2013, the European Union injected 2.9 million Euros (roughly N$37.7 million) to the Communal Land Development Project (CLDP) to offer advisory services to communal farmers in Omusati, Ohangwena, Kavango East and West, Zambezi, Otjozondjupa and Omaheke.
“AgriBank has invested N$24.5 million under the Farmers Support for the past 10 years, which includes transfer skills and knowledge to enhance farm productivity,” he said.
An amount of N$60 million was allocated to AgriBank and the Ministry of Land Reform (N$30 million each), under Post-Settlement Support Revolving Fund (PSSF), to provide credit to settled farmers at an interest rate of 4%.
A total number 13,126 of loans were granted to commercial clients, corporate clients, communal clients, Green Scheme Clients, PSSF clients and AALS clients.
Iipumbu said the government budgetary allocations amounted to N$1.1 billion. He further stated that government loaned AgriBank N$208 million in order to settle the ADB loan which was becoming too expensive as a result of the world economic meltdown of 2009, and AgriBank is paying back the loan over 21 years at 2 percent interest rate.” An average growth of 8.5 percent was achieved over 10 years on total loans.
The CEO stated that during times of disaster, AgriBank complements the government in providing assistance to mitigate the effects of such disaster on vulnerable communities and towards agriculture industry.
“An amount of N$91 million was set aside for the products namely: Production loan facility, Water and Infrastructure facility, Ring fencing of Arrears and suspension of penalty interest and installment holidays for one year facility,” he said. He added that due to the 2013 drought, the agriculture sector was affected as a result of shrinking livestock inventories and the reduction in the area planted.