19 Oct 2013 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 19 OCT (NAMPA) The First National Bank Agriculture (Agri) Division is offering loans of up to N.dollars three million to assist farmers in the fight against bush encroachment.
Loans are payable over a period of 10 years.
Through this alternative financing option offered by FNB, farmers would be able to increase land carrying capacity and earn more profits from livestock farming.
We at FNB Agri are very excited about this new and innovative product that is offered to farmers. This is a first for the Namibian agriculture sector and we truly believe that this will make a huge difference in combating bush encroachment in Namibia, said Head of the FNB Agri Division, Christo Viljoen in a presentation delivered to the Namibia Agriculture Union (NAU) on Wednesday.
He said that it has been calculated that at least 26 million hectares of bush are encroached, while 80 per cent of this land have between 2 000 and 4 000 bushes per hectare.
The huge potential for increased carrying capacity and productivity implies that the introduction of an effective bush control programme will make an important contribution to employment creation; increased land productivity; foreign exchange earnings; and economic growth for Namibia with rural development in particular, he noted.
Viljoen raised the concern that there is a decline of 64 per cent in cattle numbers between the years 1958 and 2011, with meat production losses calculated at about N.dollars 1.4 billion per annum.
According to his calculations on a N.dollars one million loan, annual savings are estimated at N.dollars 65 039 if the client only pays interest annually, and no capital. The difference in repaying the loan (interest and capital) over 10 years compared to the remaining seven years would be N.dollars 42 821.
It is estimated that for a loan of N.dollars three million, annual savings are estimated at N.dollars 195 117.
Savings on a N.dollars one million bush encroachment loan will enable the farmer to afford a livestock loan of N.dollars 250 000 payable over a period of five years. A bush encroachment loan of N.dollars two million will enable a farmer to qualify for a livestock loan of N.dollars 500 000.
To qualify for these loans, an application should be accompanied by a technical report, which should include a map of the farm to indicate the specific size and location of the targeted bush; records of rainfall; estimated number and size of targeted bush species on the land specified; and a costs and benefit analysis.
The analysis should include the method of bush clearing including the estimated costs; estimated expected benefits during the next three to five years and how these benefits will be used; an aftercare programme; and proof that if any chemicals are used, it should be environmentally-friendly.