BOBONONG: A National Development Bank (NDB) official has called on Babirwa farmers to use the Nthatosa ko Morakeng programme to improve their livestock rearing activities.
Speaking at a meeting in Bobonong, Monageng Rebaagetse said the main aim of the bank product "is to help farmers diversify their operations". He said the programme targets individuals, who could be either starters or well established farmers seeking to improve their cattle herds.
The programme could also be used to buy stock feed, and other requisites. It also assists in undertaking farming improvements in cattle posts, borehole drilling or even paddock ranches.
The NDB official explained that the programme is also meant to help farmers access funds because there are concerns that other programmes are not easily accessible.
The programme assists with loans from P20, 000 to P100,000 for new clients and up to P200,000 for old clients. The loan is repaid in five years at P500 monthly installments. He said there are no upfront payments of promoters' contribution and monthly payment is deductible from salary or any other source of income.
The minimum take home pay is P1, 500 for married persons, P1, 300 for singles and P600 for anyone classified as an industrial worker.
Farmers wanted to know if NDB loans are insured, whether the programme is of any help to the unemployed; and where they can buy cattle given the foot and mouth disease (FMD) situation in Bobirwa.
It was explained that it is difficult for the bank to assist in the face of an FMD outbreak because the markets would be closed. Farmers were told that they are free to buy cattle and transport them to Bobirwa. Such cattle are quarantined in Sefhope for two weeks before they can be allowed into Bobirwa region. Rebaagetse said they had examined the issue of loan insurance and realised that it would be very difficult.
However, cattle could still be used as security for the loan, he added.
Farmers could also use their own insurance policies as security to NDB, Rebaagetse said.