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AGRIBANK and MAWF/GIZ Support to De-bushing Project signs a Memorandum of Understanding to support bush control and bush utilisation initiatives
13 Sep 2017
Agribank has signed a one year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the MAWF/GIZ Support to De-bushing Project.
The MoU covers the following areas for cooperation;
Products development: collaborate in the development of financing products aimed at scaling-up projects in bush control and biomass utilisation.
Loans risk assessment: utilise the valuable knowledge and information of the De-bushing Advisory Service (DAS) for risk assessment of bush control and bush-based value addition loans.
Information sharing: DAS offers to provide referral service on Agribank’s loan products relevant to bush control and biomass utilisation, as part of their outreach services. Reciprocally, Agribank will be sharing information/data on loan products specifically on the uptake of related loans and especially those associated with the focal area of this MoU.
Capacity building: DAS and Agribank to jointly coordinate capacity building activities for bush control loan holders. The parties will ensure that loan applicants undergo technical training in sustainable rangeland management, sustainable bush control and technologies used, biomass processing and utilisation, and the economics of bush control.
Monitor and Evaluate: DAS and Agribank to collaborate in monitoring and evaluating the implementation of bush control and biomass utilisation activities by loan holders, and assess short and long term economic and environmental impact, and the loan repayment ability...
The MAWF/GIZ Support to De-bushing Project was established through a bilateral cooperation between the German and Namibian governments in partnership with the
Namibian Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to develop, improve and implement strategies on sustainable bush control.
The Support to De-bushing Project aims at creating a national framework for bush control, which comprises of three inter-related objectives:
Creating value addition opportunities for the biomass resource
Supporting farmers, wood harvesting and processing industries through the establishment of a De-bushing Advisory Service (DAS).
Creating an enabling environment in general to establish an environmental friendly and sustainable biomass industry.
DAS is a national information platform and focal point for questions relating to bush encroachment, bush control and value addition to bush. By virtue of its responsibilities, DAS will be the main co-operator in the implementation of this agreement.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Agribank Chief Executive Officer, Sakaria Nghikembua, noted that the MOU demonstrates Agribank’s resolve to play a meaningful role in the socio-economic transformation and development of Namibia. “We continuously strive to innovate ways and means to ensure that our products and services become more accessible to all Namibians in order to contribute to the development of agriculture in this country. Bush encroachment has proven to be a problem in many parts of the country and we trust that through this agreement, more farmers and entrepreneurs will have access to financing and advisory services to turn the challenge of bush encroachment into value addition opportunities”, Nghikembua stated.
On his part, GIZ Project Team Leader Frank Gschwender emphasised that there is great potential for a diversified industry based on Namibian encroacher bush. “The scope of bush encroachment is huge, estimated at more than 30 million hectares of land amounting to a total of 200 to 300 million tonnes of biomass, providing Namibia with a sheer unlimited resource which is in high demand globally”. According to Gschwender, the knowledge of the opportunities created through biomass utilisation is crucial for the industry to flourish. As an emerging industry, the sector is faced with difficulties in accessing financial products to upscale bush control and value chain initiatives. As such, this cooperation is seen as a roadmap to create financial models suited to boost the bush-based biomass industry, thereby achieve large-scale rangeland restoration, Gschwender concluded.
Nghikembua holds a Bachelor of Economics degree
(A-average) from the University of Namibia and a Master
of Science degree in Financial Economics from the
University of London; and has completed an Executive
Development Programme (EDP) from the University of
Cape Town. In addition, Nghikembua has completed
various Strategy and Leadership courses from the
University of Wits (SA), INSEAD in France and the Old
Mutual Business School (SA).
Nghikembua previously led the transformation of Namibia
Post Ltd as its Chief Executive Officer, and later served
as Chief Executive Officer of Operations at Old Mutual in
Namibia and as Managing Director of Old Mutual Shortterm
Insurance Company (Namibia) Ltd. In the latter role,
Nghikembua led the successful integration of the former
Mutual and Federal Insurance Company of Namibia Ltd
into Old Mutual Holdings (Namibia).
Within Old Mutual, furthermore, Nghikembua served
as the founding Executive and Chairman of Old Mutual
Finance (Namibia) Pty Ltd (a lending company); and
further served at different periods on the Boards of Old
Mutual Transactional Services, Old Mutual Properties, the
Old Mutual Foundation and the Investment Committee of
the Old Mutual Investment Group (Namibia). On August 1
2016, he began his Agribank term.
Upscaling Farmers' Productivity Through Training And Mentorship
23 Aug 2017
Agribank established an Agri Advisory Services (AASD) Division for training and
mentorship of farmers, effective April 2017, in line with its five year strategic plan.
The direct objective of this division is to transfer skills and knowledge as well as
change attitudes towards farming in order to increase productivity and promote
business relationships between clients and the Bank. The ultimate objective is to
transform agricultural interventions into viable business enterprises. Further, the
services have a special focus of orienting farmers towards adopting appropriate
climate resilient strategies and agro-processing practices, and thus, ensuring
national food security and sustainable livelihoods.
The following services in support of up-scaling farmers’ productivity
capacities are offered under the AASD:
Opportunities will be presented to clients and non-clients to attend various platforms
for up-scaling their knowledge and skills-base. These platforms comprise of the
Evening lectures: A complementary platform to keep farmers in urban areas
informed and equipped with farm management skills.
Excursions: To expose identified clients and non-clients to best farming
practices, thereby enhancing their understanding of the commitment and
sacrifices one has to make to become productive and profitable.
Farmers’ information days: to ensure information dissemination to as many
farmers as possible and used by industry role-players and farmers as platform
On-farm research trials: to demonstrate and create awareness on various
appropriate farming practices to influence informed decision making.
Farm mapping: to produce farm maps to aid farm planning and management.
Topic-specific training events: provided over an extended period, between
two to five days to allow farmers to gain a deeper understanding and ability to
demonstrate skills, knowledge and attitude towards targeted aspects of
farming. Training packages may be arranged in conjunction with other
specialized agricultural training providers.
Identified clients will be offered a chance to receive mentorship free of charge but must be willing to sign a Mentorship and Training Agreement to demonstrate their commitment to farming productively. Such clients will be attached to a mentor based on the location or operational zone of the mentor so as to maintain regular contact for personalized advice and guidance based on the client’s needs.
Mentoring is based on commitment, and a mutual trust relationship between the mentor and the client (mentee) for it to be effective. This mentorship component uses two approaches when engaging the clients for intervention; one is the “individual client mentoring” (one-on-one) where there is personalized transfer of skills and knowledge between the mentor and the client, based on the client’s own needs and circumstances. The other approach is the “client group mentoring” where clients in the same farming area or in close proximity to each other, form a group to be mentored as one study group. This group approach promotes and enhances support networks, sharing experience, and exchange of skills and knowledge amongst clients.
To intensify and accelerate knowledge transfer, information on upcoming events, farming tips and material used for training purposes amongst others will be available on the Agribank website:
www.agribank.com.na under the AASD link and a series of articles on best farming practices will be regularly published in local newspapers.
This article is compiled by Mrs. Elaine Smith, Manager Agri Advisory Services Division at Agribank.
Issued by: Marketing and Communication Division
For enquiries, kindly contact the Marketing and Communication Division at: Tel.: 061 2074332 Fax: 061 2074206