Namibia’s Agricultural Bank (Agribank) has kicked off the 2023/24 financial year with remarkable success, disbursing a substantial N$74.3 million in loans during the first quarter. This impressive figure reflects a significant 40% spike compared to the N$46.9 million disbursed during the same period in the previous year, 2022. The surge in loans can be attributed to the exceptional triple-digit growth observed in farmland and livestock financing.
Fillemon Nangonya, the Bank’s dedicated Public Relations Officer, stated that the growth was not only confined to farmland and livestock sectors but extended to the crop sector as well. This growth was primarily driven by the provision of crop production loans to irrigation farmers, particularly in the Otjozondjupa region. Agribank’s strategic focus on empowering agricultural entrepreneurs is evident through the provision of tailored agricultural loans, training, and advisory services, ensuring inclusive development for both smallholder and large commercial farmers.
Nangonya further emphasized Agribank’s commitment to diversifying its loan book, allowing the institution to effectively cater to the varying needs of the agriculture sector. Notably, the breakdown of loans by gender and age categories revealed that males continue to dominate the loans advanced, accounting for 59% in the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year, compared to 46% during the same period in 2022/23.
However, the Bank recognizes the importance of promoting gender equality and inclusivity in agriculture. Hence, Agribank aims to elevate the percentage of loans granted to females, acknowledging their vital role in the sector. In 1Q2023/24, loans advanced to females constituted 18% of the total, marking a slight decline compared to 30% in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.
Furthermore, Agribank has not overlooked the significance of supporting agricultural groups and companies, which accounted for 23% of the loans disbursed. These groups encompass both male and female participants, highlighting the Bank’s dedication to fostering collaboration and collective growth in the agricultural community.
Age-wise distribution of loans revealed another notable trend, with 35% of loans being availed to individual farmers falling within the age category of 31 to 40 years. This initiative underscores Agribank’s efforts to actively promote the involvement of women and youth in the agriculture sector. By providing targeted and specialized financing solutions, the Bank encourages increased participation, ensuring the sustainability and vitality of the agricultural landscape.
Agribank’s impact extends beyond the agricultural realm, as it has contributed significantly to the private sector credit extension, capturing a market share of 46%. This is a notable increase compared to 45% recorded in the previous year. The competitive loan terms offered by Agribank, even amid a rising interest rate environment, have been a key driver in attracting borrowers from the private sector.
In line with its overarching role as a national development finance institution, Agribank remains steadfast in addressing critical national development issues. The Bank actively contributes to achieving food security, reducing poverty, and creating employment opportunities within the agricultural space. By fostering an environment of growth and support, Agribank continues to play a catalytic role in driving the nation’s prosperity.
The remarkable achievements witnessed during the initial quarter of the 2023/24 financial year position Agribank as a beacon of progress and inclusivity in Namibia’s agriculture sector. The institution’s dedication to empowering farmers, promoting gender equality, and spurring economic growth will undoubtedly pave the way for a more sustainable and prosperous agricultural landscape in the country.
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