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:

A. Training

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 following:

  • 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 to network.
  • 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.

B. Mentorship

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

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