The National Development Bank (NDB) says it has loaned out a total of P110 million to local arable farmers for the 2014-2015 ploughing season that started in November.
NDB CEO, Lorato Morapedi explained that this was a P30 million increase from the previous year when they loaned out P80 million.
The CEO and her team on Friday took the local media houses around the Mosisedi farms in Borolong, where the bank has assisted 18 farmers. Contrary to some perceptions that the NDB was unable to loan funds to farmers, all the farmers that the media spoke to hailed the NDB’s speedy response to their financial needs. In fact, they said they do not have to go to the bank and queue for the funds, instead the the bank come to them, help them make loan applications on the spot, and within a day or two, the funds report on their cell phones.
Mosisedi farms, along with Pandamatenga have been identified as key to Botswana’s food security, as they plant thousands of hectares.
The NDB boss allayed fears that they may be headed for losses, as this is a drought year. Morapedi explained that the farmers’ loans have been insured under the Agriculture Credit Guarantee Scheme (ACGS), which pays back NDB 85%, while the farmers pay 15%.
Morapedi says they have been lobbying government as a strategic partner, to do drought assessment in ernest this time so that the official drought declaration by the President would trigger the ACGS and relief the farmers.
Jan Cronje, a Mosisedi farmer who relocated from South Africa hailed the AGCS as the thing for the farmer, saying that farmers in South Africa are exploited by insurance schemes that have seen many farmers’ businesses failing.
He borrowed P3.7 million from the NDB last year, but he is hopeful that he can raise the 15% from the sale of sorghum.