Over 1 100 farmers to get N$104m in drought relief

The Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) has commenced a drought relief initiative.

The N$104,6 million initiative was announced by Agribank chief executive Raphael Karuaihe at a media briefing in Windhoek yesterday.

The drought relief, which will be paid in the form of an installment to Agribank clients with farmland and livestock loan accounts, will benefit a total of 1 134 clients out of 2 634 farmers.

The subsidy was announced by finance and public enterprises minister Iipumbu Shiimi during his budget speech in February.
Karuaihe said Agribank will also waive penalty interest of N$83 million for all the clients in arrears for the financial year starting from April 2024 to March 2025.

The intervention of installment relief targets clients who are in good standing and whose installments fall due from 1 April to 31 March 2024, he added.

“Clients who fell into arrears between 1 April 2023 and 31 March 2024 will also be considered.

Accounts of qualifying clients will be credited in full as and when installments fall due and past due accounts will be credited with immediate effect.”

According to Karuaihe, loan repayments by clients are Agribank’s source of funds.

“This means that extending the same relief to all clients of the bank is unfortunately not a financially viable option at this stage.

While we acknowledge that the instalment relief may not reach every affected farmer, we must trust that our consideration of waiving penalties for all clients in arrears serves as a welcome relief to all our valued clients,” Karuaihe said.

DEBTS

Agribank acting chief financial officer Titus Mwazi said the 1 134 clients to benefit make up 43% of the total population of 2 634 farmers.

Mwazi said clients in arrears have a total amounting to between N$1,1 billion and N$1,2 billion.

“This is a cumulative number, but there is a way in progress to categorise them per year,” Mwazi added.

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