NDB not yet informed about ISPAAD

Staff Writer
The National Development Bank (NDB) says it has not received communication on its role in the new initiative launched by President Ian Khama to give seasonal loans to arable farmers.

NDB spokeswoman, Karabo Musa said they have not been officially informed about the initiative known as Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agriculture Development (ISPAAD). "We have not received any communication about the role the NDB will play in the implementation of ISPAAD. If there is anything, I am sure they will communicate it to us in due course. We are partners with government in a number of projects. NDB is currently administering Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) fund," she said.

However, the ISPAAD implementation guidelines from the Ministry of Agriculture says the NDB will be used as a conduit for seasonal loans to arable farmers. "Government will

facilitate access to seasonal loans for farmers by injecting funds into NDB to enable it to finance agricultural projects," the ISPAAD guideline says.

The document says NDB will provide seasonal loans at prime interest rate, through the Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS). The bank will then claim the difference between the prime rate and the lending rate from the government. The bank will avail to the Ministry of Agriculture a list of farmers assisted with seasonal loans for monitoring purposes.

ISPAAD recognises that arable farming is an expensive venture and that it is important for arable farmers to be assisted to improve their competitiveness.

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