The agricultural loans distributions by Agribank increased by 40% in the first quarter of the bank’s financial year (April–June 2023) compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year.

The Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) said that the recorded increase is mainly driven by triple-digit growth in farmland loans as well as livestock loans.

Total loans advanced for the quarter under review stood at N$74.3 million, compared to N$46.9 million for the first quarter of 2022/23 financial year.

In addition to the farmland and livestock loans, impressive growth was also noted under the crop sector, mainly propelled by crop production loans to irrigation farmers, specifically in the Otjozondjupa region.

“This supports the Bank’s strategy of loan book diversification,” Agribank said in a statement released yesterday.

Loan distribution by gender and age categories shows that males continue to dominate the loans advanced, accounting for 59% in the first quarter of 2023/24 compared to 46% in the corresponding quarter in the 2022/23 financial year.

“Loans advanced to females accounted for 18% in 1Q2023/24, which is a decline when compared to 30% in the corresponding quarter in the 2022/23 financial year.

“Groups and companies accounted for 23%, which include male and females,” the bank said.

In terms of loans advanced by age, 35% of the loans were taken up by individual farmers under the age category of 31–40 years.

“This demonstrates the Bank’s efforts to deliver on its socio-economic mandate through targeted and special financing solutions to attract participation of women and youth in the agriculture sector.”

As the private sector credit extension picked up, Agribank observed an increase in the agricultural extension market share of 46% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to 45% in the prior year. The increase could be attributed to the competitive loan terms offered by Agribank, amidst a rising interest rate environment.

“As a national development finance institution, Agribank will continue to play a catalyst role in addressing key national development issues such as food security, poverty reduction, and employment creation within the agriculture space.”

Agribank strives to ensure inclusive development by empowering smallholder and large commercial farmers through access to tailored agricultural loans, training as well as advisory services.

In the photo: The agricultural sector is one sector that seems to be shaking off well the after-effects of Covid-19.