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.
Chief Executive Officer
For enquiries, kindly contact the Marketing and Communications Division at:
Tel: 061 2074332/Fax: 061 2074206
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:
|Loan Type X||Previous Rates X||New Rates X|
|Short term loans||7.50%||8.00%|
|Medium term loans||8.25%||8.75%|
|Long term loans||8.00%||8.50%|
|NACP non-production loans X||7.00%||7.50%|
|NACP production loans||4.00%||4.00%|
|Post resettlement support||4.00%||4.00%|
|Bush control loans||6.00%||6.50%|
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).
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.
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.
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.
Marketing and Communication Division
For enquiries, kindly contact the Marketing and Communication Division at:
Tel.: 061 2074332
Fax: 061 2074206
Agribank delivers solid performance despite difficult operating environment
6 October 2017
Agricultural lender Agribank has reported solid financial performance for the year ended 31 March 2017, despite a difficult operating environment. The lender’s loan book has grown 7.4% year-on-year whilst interest income grew by 6.4% year-on-year. Although general administrative expenses went up by 11%, this is a slow-down from the 17% growth recorded for the year ended March 2016. If provisions in respect of post-retirement medical aid are excluded from the general expenses, then operating expenses only went up by 7% in the latest financial year. Another main contributor to the rise in general expenses is depreciation as a result of new vehicles and furniture acquired for the branches. Net profit increased from N$7.3 million in 2016 to N$138 million in 2017. This is as a result of both operating performance and a change in the method of provision on advances from a general provision based on outstanding loan balances to a specific method based on individual loan accounts. Individual account provisioning is in line with the Bank of Namibia’s guidelines for commercial banks (BID-2), which Agribank adopted for the 2017 financial statements.
In line with good corporate governance practices, the bank finalised its annual audit and held its annual general meeting within the prescribed six-month period after financial year-end. The annual general meeting, which took place in Windhoek on 21 September 2017, was attended by representatives of the Ministries of Finance, Land Reform and Public Enterprises.
Other achievements recorded during the 2016/17 financial year included the finalisation and implementation of the bank’s five-year strategic plan, the implementation of a bank-wide performance management system, the launch of the no-collateral loan product for communal farmers, the implementation of an arrears collection strategy, the establishment of an in-house Agri Advisory Services division to sharpen focus on training and mentoring services for farmers, and the launch of product-specific awareness campaigns.
For the current financial year the bank will implement a new loan book funding strategy whilst continuing to embed a high performance culture in the business. The bank is currently in the process of re-engineering critical business processes in order to improve customer service. Identified data integrity issues will also be addressed.
Owing to historical issues, the audit for the year was qualified as the auditor could not attain sufficient comfort regarding the accuracy and completeness of collateral securities data. In 2009, the bank migrated from BankMaster to SAP as the core banking system. At that time, SAP did not have a functionality to capture collateral securities. This functionality was developed between 2010 and 2012. In the intervening period, collateral securities information was captured in excel format with the uploading of the data from excel to SAP taking place in August 2012. Since then, the capturing of the collateral securities data was done directly onto the SAP system. For the past five years, the bank has been running a project to complete the capturing of the collateral securities data onto SAP. However, this information was found by the external auditor to be inaccurate and also incomplete resulting in the qualification. The bank has taken immediate steps to identify all capturing errors within the data and will ensure corrective action is taken to avoid a similar situation in future.
Chief Executive Officer
For enquiries, kindly contact Sakaria Nghikembua on: email@example.com or 0811280131.
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;
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.
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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 following:
Every livestock farmer should strive for optimal productivity while keeping the costs of production in check. The production efficiency on any livestock enterprise is directly linked to the efficiency of livestock selection. In order to maximise productivity, a livestock farmer should establish breeding objectives and goals, and implement a selection process that will meet his/her objectives. The purpose of livestock selection is to improve herd or flock productivity, meet market demands and increase farm income. There are several factors that hinder livestock improvement, which amongst others include:
Agribank and the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) have signed a one year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, 2 August 2017. In terms of the MOU, Agribank will finance the purchasing of female breeding livestock by farmers in the Northern Communal Areas (NCA) from the NDC’s Kavango Cattle Ranch (KCR).
To ensure wider benefit to farmers, the MOU provides that the number of cattle to be financed through this financing agreement will be limited to 15 head of cattle per client. The purchase price of the cattle shall be either 80% (eighty percent) of the market value as per weight class, which value is based on the prices obtained at the Grootfontein auction in the immediately preceding month, or a fixed rate of N$20 per kilogram, whichever is the higher.
Financing will be subject to Agribank’s credit policy and upon approval final livestock selection will be done between NDC and the client. The ownership of the chosen livestock will pass on to the client and the animals will be released into the custody of the client. NDC will then issue the final invoice to Agribank for payment. Such payment will be made directly to the NDC.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Agribank Chief Executive Officer, Sakaria Nghikembua, noted that the MOU is just one of many initiatives that the Bank has taken to widen the access of communal farmers to financing.
“As the Agricultural bank, we have a duty to ensure inclusivity so that we can make a bigger developmental impact in our country. Extending financing to farmers in the NCA will no doubt improve their production output as food security at a household level is one of the expected outcomes of the socio-economic development pillar of our strategic plan.
It is therefore imperative that we develop ways and means to cater for this distinct segment of our market”, Nghikembua noted.
The Acting Managing Director of NDC, Pieter de Wet, echoed Nghikembua’s sentiments and reiterated that as development partners accountable to the same sole shareholder, this effort of leveraging synergies could not have come at a more opportune time when excellence is expected to take centre stage in agricultural production.
The NDC’s Kavango Cattle Ranch is located just above the Veterinary Line, with corridor status, and has been operating for more than 20 years focusing on beef production. “It is therefore only prudent that NDC participates in initiatives aimed at supporting communities in its areas of operation. Given the quality of animals produced at KCR, we are confident that sharing our top breeds with farmers in the NCA will go a long way in infusing quality genetic material in the northern regions”, de Wet stated.
According to him, the partnership between Agribank and NDC gives real meaning to the empowerment of people at grass-roots level and that hitherto excluded sectors of the community will now be afforded an opportunity not only to enjoy ease of access to funding at affordable rates but also to acquire quality breeding stock for improved agricultural output.
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.
Chief Executive Officer
For enquiries, kindly contact the Marketing and Communication Division at:
Tel.: 061 2074332
Fax: 061 2074206
Loans are granted against security of fixed property, investment or any other acceptable form of security (fixed deposits, investments and surrendering value of policies). read more
No, Agribank is not a commercial bank. read more
Yes, Agribank can assist you to start farming. read more