Agribank announces two-part drought relief initiative for farmers
Agricultural lender, Agribank, has announced a two-part drought relief initiative which will commence on Monday next week.
The initiatives will offer relief and support to farmers countrywide following President Hage Geingob declared a state of emergency over drought in the country.
Agribank said the first intervention is a payment relief on both arrears and installments for the current year, stating that clients who are in arrears will be required to pay 45% of their arrears after which the remaining arrears will be capitalised.
The bank added that an additional two years will then be added to the client’s loan period in order to give them more time to repay the remaining amount. The bank however recognizes that clients might not be able to pay the required 45% in one go, therefore it allows clients to pay off this amount in manageable amounts until 30 September.
“Similarly, clients who anticipate that they will not be able to settle their annual instalments in full for the current year will be required to settle 60% of the instalment due, with the remaining 40% being capitalised. As with the arrears payment, an additional two years will be added to the client’s loan period to make payment more affordable over time,” said Sakaria Nghikembua, Chief Executive Officer at the bank.
The second intervention is drought relief loans which will be offered to clients who have fulfilled the payment relief requirements and can be used for various drought related needs such as the purchasing of fodder, the drilling of boreholes or rehabilitation of boreholes or other water infrastructure, adaptive income streams such as wood and charcoal production and bush-to-feed-making equipment.
“We are facing challenging times for both our clients and the bank. We want both to survive. We are trying to balance so many considerations to ensure our clients receive some scope to make it through this difficult period. We certainly wish we could do more but resources are limited. For the bank, our main source of funds is loan repayments by our clients. This means that total repayment relief is unfortunately not an option at this stage. But we believe we have done our best to assist our clients. We will maintain a flexible approach in our discussions with each client’, adding ‘given the urgency of the situation we have set up a war-room to deal with peculiar cases or queries which the branches might not be able to immediately deal with. This team will meet regularly to consider any such requests from the branches and provide feedback within 36 hours,” Nghikembua said.