RUNDU - Agribank is touring the northeastern region to engage women and youth on their latest loan offering. The Women and Youth Loan Scheme aims to assist those sections of the population in agriculture without difficult loan conditions.
The bank, in October last year introduced a loan scheme product targeting women and youth and under this scheme, qualifying women and youth may access various loan products for agricultural purposes, within the categories of short, medium and long-term loans, repayable between one to five years, five to 10 years and 10 to 25 years respectively. The loan comes with a 7% interest and clients are given one year grace period before they start repayments.
“The product is also targeting professionals that have agriculture qualifications and wants to do agribusiness. Ever since the introduction of this product, the bank has now decided to engage various stakeholders and communities around the country,” said the bank’s public relations officer, Fillemon Nangonya in an interview on the sideline of the stakeholders’ engagement in Rundu on Tuesday last week.
Women from the age of 18 years and above as well as youth between 18 and 35 qualify under the loan scheme. However, for agricultural professionals, there is no limit on age and gender.
“We have done most parts of the country and we are now in the two Kavango regions this week and we will proceed to Zambezi next week,” he said, adding that interested youths and women who missed the engagements, can still consult their nearby branches for more information on the loan scheme.
Nangonya also noted that this product is designed to increase the participation of the targeted groups, he said the product is different from the rest, as it comes with relaxed terms and conditions, especially for collateral.
“We brought in the issue of the off take agreement because not all youths and women are established. They might not have the required collateral, but if they have a tripartite agreement or the buyers agreement that they will buy their produce they can qualify for the loan. So those are some of the conditions attached to this product,” he said.
Nangonya said Agribank will also look at the possible buyers and see if they indeed have the potential to buy all the produce from the applicants.
“What also happens is that during the process of repayment, once the buyer buys from you as a producer, they will first pay Agribank then gives you your change, so in such a way, you won’t go into debt with the bank and the bank will also not lose out in terms of your payment,” he noted.
He said this is indeed different from all other products and the main reason is to encourage women and youth’s participation in agriculture.
“This is a scheme where you find various loan products, if one wants farm implements, wants to purchase farmland in the commercial areas, livestock or wants to build farm facilities like labourer houses, they can still be accommodated under this scheme,” he said.
Youths that are already farming with livestock and wants to stock up are also encouraged to participate.
“The bank will come and inspect the carrying capacity of your farming area, types of grass and advise you accordingly,” Nangonya noted. On Monday last week, the bank was in Nkurenkuru in Kavango West and on Tuesday, they held another engagement in Rundu Kavango East, on Wednesday, they were in Ndiyona and in Divundu on Thursday.
They are in Zambezi region where they will continue this week.