Agriculture sector performs satisfactorily throughout 2017
The local agricultural sector rebounded quite strongly from a two year-long recession, registering respective growths of 15%, 20% and 5.3% in the first, second and third quarters of 2017 compared to the same periods of 2016.
According to the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank), the first, second and third quarters of 2016 recorded growths of -2.9%, 7.2% and 14.0%, respectively.
Additionally, Agribank’s Chief Executive Officer, Sakaria Nghikembua, said agriculture commodity prices and sale volumes across the board have depicted a persistent rising trend throughout the year and maintained high levels compared to the prior year.
“This is particularly on the back of improved production and high demand in the local and export markets (South Africa), favourable prices and trading conditions,” Nghikembua explained.
Nghikembua said that the trend in agricultural product prices is projected to improve; hence the agricultural sector is anticipated to strongly support growth in the general economy.
This expected growth in the agricultural sector is partly a response to the end of the El Nino drought that plagued the Southern African region for two consecutive periods (2015 and 2016).
The bank foresees growth resulting from a second consecutive year of normal rainfall and the upward trend in producer prices across agricultural products. Nghikembua noted that for this reason, the Bank looks forward to growth in its market share over the next 2-3 years.
Being the commercial Bank for the sector, Agribank, which operates in a dynamic environment is faced with competition in the financial intermediation market, uncertainty in climate change, economic conditions as well as disease and pest outbreaks.
“This has prompted the Bank to strengthen efforts aimed at increasing our market share, diversifying our loan portfolio, improving loan collections, building brand loyalty, while mainstreaming risk management in our business operations,” Nghikembua stressed.
He added that overall, the Bank sights a promising future for the agricultural sector. “Heading into 2018, we would continue to play to our competitive advantage, pursue opportunities in the sector and mitigate risks in order to shape a promising future not only for Agribank but for the agricultural sector and the economy as a whole,” Nghikembua concluded.