By: Nghiinomenwa Erastus
By the end of February 2022, women and the youth (18-35) utilized the gender and youth-specific tailor-made credit facility to borrow N$10 million for their agri-related endeavours.
The agricultural bank reported last week in a statement released to the media.
The bank’s spokesperson indicated that from April 20221 till February 2022, Agribank had disbursed capital through loans worth N$173 million into the agriculture sector.
Out of the total amount advanced, N$10,8 million was disbursed to qualifying clients, specifically under the women and youth loan scheme of Agribank.
He said from the approved applications from youth and women agri-risk-takers, 50% of the total amount disbursed went to those who wanted (beginners) to purchase farming land.
The other share of the N$10,8 million was disbursed to finance the purchasing of large and small stock and poultry.
This is because modern agriculture needs different components as opposed to traditional farming; while money was also disbursed to finance the construction of dwellings and other permanent farm buildings.
Nangonya explained that the women and youth scheme was introduced to cater for women above the age of 18 years, as well as youth (men and women) between 18 and 35 years, and agricultural professionals/graduates above 18 years of age.
He said Agribank introduced the women and youth scheme to increase the participation of women and youth in farming activities since the scheme comes with distinct features serving as incentives.
These include interest rates fixed at 7% across all loan products under the scheme and a one-year grace period.
Moreover, financing of unsecured loans to individuals or entities who do not have collateral provided an off-take agreement is in place to be provided by a client.
Going forward, Nangonya said that Agribank’s endeavours are to strengthen the women and youth scheme and collaborate with key stakeholders to promote off-take agreements in the value chain financing.
“This will enhance market access and availability to farmers and realize greater participation and adoption by small-scale farmers in the sector,” he said.
He also added that the off-take agreements within the value chain would not just empower those involved but increase food security as well as wealth creation among the youth.
Nangonya added that agricultural finance is the bedrock of food self-sufficiency, wealth creation, and improvement in overall economic growth- given that modern farming and producing at a large scale require capital both in machinery and skilled labour.
He said to promote sustainable agriculture, the inclusion of women and youth is vital; therefore, Agribank will continue to focus on addressing inclusivity and, promote product diversification, smart climate-resilient production systems, technological innovation, and embedding financial sustainability.
For the current financial year, the Ministry of Finance allocated an amount of N$90 million targeted to further support interventions in the agricultural sector.