AGRIBANK catalyses the transformation of agriculture in Namibia

23 Jun 2017

Agribank is focussed on catalysing the transformation of agriculture in Namibia. The Bank plans to do this through inclusive lending where renewed emphasis is placed on emerging and communal farmers as well as improving service delivery efficiencies with specific focus on loan process timelines. This was revealed by Sakaria Nghikembua, the Chief Executive Officer of the bank, at its first ever stakeholder engagement dinner held in Rundu on Thursday, 22 June 2017.

Nghikembua further listed value addition financing that will support economic growth and employment creation as key milestones towards transforming the agricultural sector. Agribank furtherplans to enhance agricultural output through training and mentorship programmes and has therefore established its own specialised Agri-Advisory Services Division within the bank from 1 April this this year. Nghikembua made the remarks during the dinner where the bank shared its strategy and focus areas with key stakeholders while receiving feedback through mutual interactions.

At the event, Agribank’s Board Chairperson, Terttu Uyuni, stated that at the heart of Agribank’s strategy are the key pillars of customer focus, financial sustainability and socio-economic transformation, amongst others. The Agribank Chairperson explained that the bank is focusing on customers because “we need to understand their needs, the challenges they face as well as the opportunities available to them. Financial sustainability requires us to grow our loan book, manage our expenses prudently and ensure timely loan repayments to the bank.” She reiterated that the Board and Management have a duty “to manage the bank in a sustainable and inclusive manner so that we can make a wider developmental impact in our country.”

According to her, the socio-economic development pillar of the bank’s strategy asserts the principle that, as a national development financing institution, Agribank needs to be inclusive, adding “It is critical that we devise appropriate strategies to reach out to communal farmers, who have previously benefited only in a limited way from our loan products and support services. The recent launch of the no-collateral loan product for salaried employees supports this strategic aspiration.”

Uuyuni also amplified the statement by Nghikembua on the bank’s catalytic role in the transformation of agriculture by providing innovative and affordable financing solutions to Namibians so that they can produce for more for themselves and the country; as well as earn foreign currency for the country through exports. “By taking advantage of our agro-processing financing, our citizens will not only be able to add value and grow the economy, but they will also provide jobs, secure livelihoods, eliminate poverty, restore people’s dignity and create prosperity for all Namibians”, she stated.

The Agribank chairperson further noted that for long, Agribank focused on funding primary production activities. With Government’s emphasis now on value addition and growth-at-home, the bank has realigned its strategy to ensure that it also plays its part in the financing of value addition activities in the agricultural space.

“It is against this background that the Board approved the agro processing loan product which will add value to basic agricultural produce, create employment and help expand production in support of economic growth. The bank therefore invites clients with bankable ideas to talk to us, so that we can guide them through the necessary processes to realise their dreams of agricultural value-addition.”

At the occasion, the Governor of Kavango East Region, Honourable Dr Samuel Mbambo, who was the guest of honour, pledged his support towards the full implementation of Agribank’s strategic plan so that it can deliver on its mandate to ensure that there is a bigger developmental impact in the country.

Dr Mbambo challenged small scale, as well as commercial, producers in his region and beyond, to step up their game and set up factories to manufacture Namibia’s own tomato sauce and process other produce into value-added products.

“As a country, we are currently importing these most basic products, but if we organise ourselves and take advantage of this facility by Agribank, we should be able to penetrate this market and make a dent in our quest for food security and economic diversification,” the Governor concluded.

The Agribank stakeholders’ dinner was attended by both Governors of the Kavango East and Kavango West Regions, the Mayors of Rundu and Nkurenkuru as well as senior government officials and key clients of Agribank in the two regions.

END

Issued by:
Sakaria Nghikembua
Chief Executive Officer


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