Namibia’s Agricultural lender, Agribank, has in its annual report for the 2020/21 Financial Year announced the disbursement of loans to the value of N$217 million from which 1,301 customers benefited during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement by the Bank’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Rino Muranda, despite the loans, the bank posted solid financial results for a fifth consecutive year. For the period covered by the report, Agribank’s total loan book increased by 2%, while interest income increased by 1.2% owing to prudent financial management and a strategic increase in the bank’s money market investments.

Muranda noted that of the loans disbursed, a total of N$44 million exclusively benefited female clients compared to 21 million Namibia dollars in the previous financial year. An amount of N$39 million was lent exclusively to Youths, while N$13 million was lent to communal farmers without collateral.

Part of the Bank’s efforts during the pandemic includes programs carried out to build the capacity of farmers. The report noted that a total of 13,948 farmers country-wide benefited from training and mentorship interventions by the bank, representing an increase from 8,035 during the previous period.

In addition, Muranda disclosed the bank’s promises to shareholders to bring about a reduction in arrears ratios from 24 to 22%. Further enhancement of operations within the bank is expected through embedding the loan application automation system, implementing the hybrid cloud solution, and use robotics for improved administrative efficiencies.