The Agricultural Bank of Namibia, through its mandate to promote the growth and development of the agriculture sector, has advanced a total of N$3.5 billion to beneficiaries towards the end of the 2020/21 financial year.
Senior researcher and product development officer at the bank Indileni Nanghonga said the bank is hard at work in trying to transform food systems in the country. “Agribank advances money to persons or financial intermediaries to promote agriculture and activities related to agriculture. We also try diversification among farmers through different products the bank is offering,” she explained.
Nanghonga encouraged young people to search for information and visit the bank for further directions on different products that may be suitable for them. She noted that the youth must show the bank interest and willingness that their projects could work, or prove to off-takers that they can produce quality goods.
Last week in a discussion on transforming food systems in the country, Nanghonga stated that the bank is trying to push from all angles, but at the same time encouraging the youth to participate in the agricultural sector.
“The youth can come as individuals, company or cooperative, and the bank can accommodate them as long as it is for agricultural purposes. We also strive to get affordable funding to make sure that we lend to agricultural professionals, or to those who want to take on agricultural projects at an affordable and competitive rate,” she continued.
Farmers should start small and expand production as they progress, and also understand the market through their targeted product.
“People fail to start on a small scale and when things go bust, you cannot pay back”, she noted.
Budding farmer Otto Kapuka said he came up with his idea in 2017 under harsh conditions of unemployment and a lack of finances.
He only managed to get the water system set up after raising funds from his parents, and kicked off with the project in 2019.
“Land was there, but there was no water, and I could not access loans because I was unemployed. With the help of my parents, I managed to get the water system set up, which cost me about N$100 000,” he explained.
Kapuka observed that the challenges the youth face is land availability and access to relevant information in easy language to reach the people. “It’s one thing to tell the youth to be involved in agriculture, and another to provide them with information every day from institutions like the ministry of agriculture, Agribank and the National Youth Council to pave the way for the youth with processes and benefits”.
Another challenge is the local market which keeps on negotiating prices, not considering the inputs, Kapuka added.