Loans to Agribank clients under the age of 35 increased by 75% to N$19 million with 44 beneficiaries in the 2020/21 financial year, up from N$10.9 million with 27 beneficiaries in the previous year. The loans were mostly for livestock production.
Women and youth accounted for 60% of those who took part in the Bank’s Agri-Advisory Services Division’s short training courses. Agri-entrepreneurs can gain practical knowledge and skills in various aspects of farming through the courses.
Regan Mwazi, Executive Manager of the Marketing and Customer Strategy Department said the Bank’s Agri-Advisory Services Division, established in 2017, prepares the farmers to plan for and survive adverse climate conditions that can compromise their ability to actively participate in the meat, horticulture, and agronomy value chains.
To date, N$12.8 million investment was made for the operationalisation of the Division, benefiting 36,013 agri-entrepreneurs of which 70% are small-scale farmers based in communal/rural areas of the country, while 120 clients of the Bank, are being mentored.
“Mentorship has had positive effects on reduction in livestock mortality rates for mentees, as clients of the Bank. In this regard, mortality amongst cattle reduced significantly from 23% in the 2019/20 financial year to 6% in the 2020/21 financial year. In addition, cattle off-take rates have increased over the mentorship period from 14% in 2018/19 to 34% in 2020/21,” Mwazi said.
To ensure continuity in free services delivery to farmers, in February 2021 the Bank secured the Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to co-finance agri-advisory services over a two-year period with emphasis on women and youth.