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AGRIBANK AWARDS BURSARIES
16 Apr 2018
AGRIBANK AWARDS BURSARIES Agribank has awarded full bursaries to three first-year students studying at the University of Namibia as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative. The bursaries cover tuition fees, academic books, accommodation, meals and academic expenses like examination fees.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Agribank chief executive officer, Sakaria Nghikembua, stated that Agribank’s vision is to serve as a catalyst in transforming the agricultural sector. “Transformation is effected by the Bank in many forms, primarily through agricultural loan financing, but also through capacity building – in this case funding tertiary studies”, Nghikembua noted.
According to him, “the ultimate aim is to produce graduates who can innovate and transform the agricultural sector, and to shape the perceptions of the upcoming generation to see agriculture as a critical pillar of the economy.” Nghikembua urged the beneficiaries, who are pursuing undergraduate studies in crop science, fisheries and aquatic science as well as veterinary medicine, to study hard and be good brand ambassadors of Agribank.
Whilst beneficiaries are not obliged to work for Agribank after graduation, they are expected to work in Namibia for a number of years equal to their bursary years.
At the occasion, Nghikembua further revealed that the Bank has spent over N$1 million on corporate social responsibility initiatives in the financial year ended 31 March 2018, which include supporting agricultural shows, agricultural related training activities, farmers’ information days, farmers’ unions and financial literacy, amongst others.
INTEREST RATES ADJUSTMENTS 24 Nov 2017 Interest rates for some Agribank products will see a modest increase of 0.50 percent (50 basis points) effective 1 December 2017. The Bank’s interest rates have not been adjusted since November 2013.
Notwithstanding the increase in some products, the Government subsidised interest rates will remain unchanged at 4%, while penalty interest rate on arrear balances will similarly also remained unchanged at 2%. Overall, Bank’s interest rates remain competitive relative to the market.
Subsidised loans are loans to communal farmers under the National Agricultural Credit Programme (NACP) and resettled farmers under the Post Settlement Support Fund. The NACP was established in 1995 for communal farmers to access credit in order to increase food production and become surplus producers, create jobs and alleviate the cycle of poverty. It also serves as a preparatory stage for small scale farmers in communal areas before they could be considered to qualify for the purchase of commercial farmland under the Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS).
The new interest rates per loan type are indicated in the table below:
Short term loans
Medium term loans
Long term loans
NACP non-production loans X
NACP production loans
Post resettlement support
Bush control loans
Existing and prospective clients of Agribank are hereby informed of the change in interest rates.
PLANTING SEASON TIPS FOR FARMERS The season for planting has officially arrived and farmers should be busy preparing the land for cultivation and planting of grains like pearl millet (Mahangu), sorghum, maize and vegetables like, pumpkin, runner bean, water melon and tomatoes. Establishing a crop means that seeds or seedlings are placed in the ground at a certain time (referred to as planting time). If the crop establishes itself poorly, the yield potential is immediately limited.
Thus, a significant relationship exists between the time you plant and the crop yield you obtain. To ensure that the optimum yield is realised, crop producers need to take into consideration factors such as the correct time for planting, the plant spacing and the depth of seeding (sowing depth). Planting time.
For most crops there is an optimum time for planting, which depends on the climatic conditions and the time taken by the crops to reach maturity. For summer crops, such as maize, pearl millet and cow pea, early planting at the beginning of the rainy season is desirable as yields decrease with late planting. If planting commences late, the crop is likely to not reach its full physiological stage due to fewer days remaining for it to reach maturity.
Plant spacing The spacing of plants refers to the distance between rows and between plants in the row. The closer the spacing, the greater the number of crops that can be planted per hectare. However, too close spacing results in competition among crops and diseases and pests can spread quickly among the crop population. The ideal plant spacing depends on the type of crop, variety and the climatic conditions such as rainfall and water availability. Tomatoes may be grown at closer spacing of 5 cm apart, whereas crops like runner beans require 30 cm spacing in-between. In drier areas, wider spacing is preferable in order to provide more soil water to the individual crops. In high rainfall areas, or where there is irrigation, closer spacing is possible.
Sowing depth The sowing depth of a crop depends on the size of the seed, the type of soil and the weather. Generally, smaller seeds are sown at a shallower depth than larger seeds, while the deeper the seed is planted, the longer it will take the seedling to emerge and the weaker the plant will be at emergence (which may reduce plant vigour and
yield). Seeds may be planted deeper into sandy soil or in the case of dry planting i.e. planting before the rainy season. An important point farmers should remember when planting is to ensure good seed-to-soil contact as this enables the necessary absorption of water by seeds, which initiates germination.
To achieve an optimum crop harvest, do not crowd seedlings or plant them too close to each other. Give the plants sufficient time and space to reach their full potential and avoid deeper seeding in heavy soils. This article is compiled by Ms. Emilie Abraham, Technical Officer: Crops within Agribank’s Agri Advisory Services Division.
Issued by: Marketing and Communication Division
For enquiries, kindly contact the Marketing and Communication Division at: Tel.: 061 2074332 Fax: 061 2074206