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Agribank initiates drought relief incentives

Agribank initiates drought relief incentives

Aili Iilonga
AGRIBANK has announced drought relief initiatives in an effort to offer aid and support to farmers after President Hage Geingob declared a state of emergency on drought countrywide.
CEO Sakaria Nghikembua made the announcement during the week and explained that the relief will come in two forms in order to accommodate current farmers affected by the drought.

Pictured: Water bubbles to the surface after a new borehole drilled in the area Okandjira and Ovitoto where a group of women are busy with a self-help garden farming project. The water will give new life to their initiative. Photo: Courtesy of Frank Bockmuhl.

“The relief comes in two forms, the first intervention is a payment relief on both arrears and instalments for the current year, with clients who are in arrears will now be required to pay 45% of their arrears after which the remaining arrears will be capitalised. The second intervention is drought relief loans. These loans will be offered to clients who have fulfilled the payment relief requirements,” he said.
He highly emphasised that no client should be turned away on the arrear and instalment payment relief option, but that the client and the bank should engage where peculiar client circumstances exist.
“We are facing challenging times for both our clients and the bank. We want both to survive. We are trying to balance, so there are 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,” said Nghikembua.
Nghikembua, however, noted that a total repayment relief is not an option at this stage for the farmers.
“We believe we have done our best to assist our clients. We will maintain a flexible approach in our discussions and we are committed to ensuring that all clients who wish to take up the offers are assisted after consultations with the bank,” he stated.
Geingob in his latest State of the Nation address referred to the looming drought disaster, prompting cabinet to approved drought relief interventions worth N$572.7 million to assist affected farmers.

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