14 Oct 2022

On Friday, 14 October 2022, the Agricultural Bank of Namibia inaugurated its revamped Otjiwarongo office, a development that is meant to enhance customer in-branch experience and brand visibility, in line with the Bank’s strategic plan. Otjozondjupa region lies at the centre of a highly potential agricultural area of the country, which flourishes in both livestock and crop farming. As a key player in financing the transformation, and expansion of agriculture in the country, Agribank has two offices in the Otjozondjupa region, with another office in Grootfontein, in recognition of the business potential of the region in the agricultural space.
The keynote speaker at the inauguration, Hon. James Uerikua, Governor of the Otjozondjupa region, applauded Agribank for its investment and commitment in the region, stating that "the overhaul of this office is a welcome expression of the trust and confidence that Agribank has in the economic potential of this town and the entire Otjozondjupa region." As such, the Governor called on Agribank as a public institution, to continue with its strategic role in contributing to food security, employment creation, and land reform efforts of the government.

On her part, the Deputy Chairperson of the Agribank’s Board of Directors, Dagmar Honsbein, reiterated the Bank’s position of expanding its footprints, stating that "as a development finance institution, we have laid a solid foundation to ensure that the Bank’s impact is felt across the length and breadth of our beautiful country, Namibia. We will continue to offer innovative financial solutions to both communal and commercial farmers, from production to value-addition." Furthermore, Agribank’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Raphael Karuaihe, told the audience at the event that "over the past five years, Agribank has embarked on a journey, not only to transform the institution to become the pinnacle of corporate governance and service delivery efficiencies, but also to ensure that it plays a meaningful role in catalysing the transformation and growth of the agricultural sector, through the adoption of a clear strategic plan."

Agribank’s five-year strategic plan focuses on preserving the business in a difficult operating environment, securing sustainable sources of affordable loan book funding, new business growth, maintaining sustainable collections trajectory, maintaining prudent expense management; and robustly managing provisions for bad debt. Moreover, the Bank intends to diversify its loan book for climate resilience and inclusivity, as well as embed automation and operational efficiencies within the Bank to sustain a high-performance environment and enhance brand reputation, while also balancing the mandate for sustainability and shareholder/policymaker/client expectations.

In terms of the loan book statistics for the Otjozondjupa region, the region serves over 2,700 clients on the loan book of Agribank, of which the majority are from Otjiwarongo and surrounding areas. Otjozondjupa’s loan book stands at over N$1.1 billion. Agribank Otjiwarongo office has financed over N$1.8 million to full-time communal farmers, without collateral, through the Emerging Retail Financing Product (ERFP). The office also paid over N$10.7 million to 13 beneficiaries of the newly introduced Women and Youth Loan scheme. As may be commonly known, the top three loan products in the region that the Bank financed are land for beginners, full-time affirmative action loans, and livestock loans.

Agribank’s loans can be utilized for purchasing farmland, production inputs, livestock, farming infrastructure, vehicles and equipment, biomass management, aquaculture, poultry, piggery, post-settlement support, as well as value addition through agro-processing. The Bank also provides training and mentorship services to farmers through the Agri-Advisory Services Division.

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