11 Apr 2018 20:50pm
WINDHOEK, 11 APR (NAMPA) President Hage Geingob on Wednesday said Government has secured funding to implement the extensive Agricultural Mechanisation and Seed Improvement Programme (AMSIP).
This programme will be rolled out over a five-year period from the second quarter of 2018, Geingob said during his State of the Nation Address in Parliament.
AMSIP intends to improve household food security and nutrition, job creation, household incomes and the lives of rural people through increased agricultural production and productivity.
The Head of State said successful implementation of the programme is envisioned to halve the percentage of food insecurity in Namibia, from an estimate of 25 per cent in 2017 to 12 per cent by 2025.
This will further lead to a reduction in annual grain and cereal imports from 60 per cent of total consumption in 2017 to 20 per cent by 2025.
This initiative is expected to translate into thousands of job opportunities for rural youth, he said.
Geingob further said a number of transformational initiatives that will positively impact the agricultural sector have been introduced, which include a collateral-free loan that will enable communal farmers to access financing against payroll deductions.
The collateral-free loan launched in April last year caters for farmers who do not have access to conventional collateral, especially those in communal areas.
Since the launch of the collateral-free loan by Agribank, 202 loans with a value of N.dollars 25.3 million were approved within a period of eight months.
Loan sizes can vary from N.dollars 5 000 to N.dollars 500 000 per loan client at eight per cent interest per annum. It is payable in 12 to 54 months depending on the size of the loan.
According to the African Development Bank (AfDB) website, the agriculture mechanisation scheme, if fully implemented, will generate about 100 000 jobs that includes 40 000 jobs for women and 10 000 jobs for the youth in agricultural production, processing and marketing operations in Namibia.
The cost of the project is estimated at N.dollars 1.4 billion which will be financed by an AfDB loan.