Agribank's Annual General Meeting Highlights Good Progress and Future Strategy

09 Oct 2023

Namibia's premier agricultural lender, Agribank, convened its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Windhoek on 27 September 2023. The event was a platform to showcase the Bank’s accomplishments and present strategic plans that will shape the future of the institution. The AGM was graced by the presence of Honourable Iipumbu Shiimi, the Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises.

During the financial year ending on 31 March 2023, Agribank significantly boosted its loan disbursements, reaching over N$284 million compared to the previous year's N$194 million. Notably, 564 clients benefited from these loans, up from 440 the prior year.

Land purchases continued to dominate the loan allocations, amounting to N$98.2 million and covering 134,122 hectares in FY2023, a considerable increase from N$55.1 million and 57,965 hectares in FY2022. Livestock purchases also saw a rise, reaching N$76.8 million in FY2023 compared to N$52.2 million the previous year.

Loans extended to women increased to N$55.4 million from N$30.1 million in 2022, while youth loans rose to over N$30.6 million in FY2023 from N$20.5 million in the prior year. The bank supported full-time communal farmers without collateral through its Emerging Retail Financing Product (ERFP), providing over N$25.2 million, up from N$12.6 million in the prior fiscal year. Additionally, the no-collateral scheme backed by salaries aided employees engaging in part-time farming, with N$13.5 million disbursed in FY2023 compared to N$10.1 million during the FY2022.

Agribank's Chairperson, Josephat Mwatotele, acknowledged the bank's commendable financial performance, highlighting a surplus of N$49.5 million. “I am encouraged by the sales and collection efforts that are on an upward trajectory, despite operating in a very difficult environment”, Mwatotele stated. He emphasized the challenges posed by weather patterns with frequent droughts as well as global events that are continuously increasing input costs and thereby squeezing disposal income of farmers. The focus moving forward includes stakeholder engagement, operational efficiencies and enhanced complaints management system to improve customer service, underpinned by best governance practices.

Honorable Shiimi applauded the Agribank Board and Management for “playing an active role in the transformation of agriculture, by contributing to efforts to remove barriers across the agriculture value chains”. Shiimi further urged the Bank’s leadership to use such platforms to create opportunities for farmers and encourage them to adopt climate resilient practices. The minister also indicated that his ministry is working on new approaches for governance of public enterprises, which include the coordinated Board development program for state owned enterprises, lifting of key performance indicators from strategic business plans, leadership development within SOEs as well as formalizing performance culture as some of the key requirements for reporting at AGMs and public enterprise governance going forward.

At the occasion, Agribank Chief Executive Officer Dr Raphael Karuaihe, who presented the Bank’s operational highlights, noted that prudent expenses management, enhanced momentum on sales growth and the sales automation initiatives were key focus areas for the review period. Dr Karuaihe also stated that going forward, the Bank will focus on strengthening engagements with the shareholder, forging strategic partnerships across the agricultural value chains, developing a sustainable funding model, enhancing collection and arrears management, auctions prevention strategy, aligning product innovation and inclusion as well as compliance with the public enterprises’ governance act.

Pictured above: Seated – Hon. Iipumbu Shiimi, Minister of Finance & Public Enterprises (in the middle); Mrs Peyavali Hangula, Deputy Board Chairperson (L); and Mrs Dolly Nashandi, Board Member (R). Standing from L-R: Mr Josephat Mwatotele, Board Chairperson; Mr Brian Katjaerua, and Mr Alfred Sikopo, Board Members.

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