By Precious Sinyepe
Agribank in Katima Mulilo is in an effort to recover debts caused by local farmers. In its desperate move to reckon the debts ,it has approached the traditional authorities.
In its desperate move to reckon debts , it has approached traditional authorities[khutas] and the Likwama farmers cooperative for assistance in tracing all defaulters. the acting manager Agnes Matongo stressed that “unless farmers divert to credit savings scheme they will not be able to get loan in any financial institution as all lending institutions are too critical in asking for security”. She said that with credit savings scheme farmers will be able to pay back their loans.
“the defaulters who will fail to pay their loan ,legal action will be taken against them, like the attachment of their loose assets”, she said.
Agribank requires security like, fixed deposit at any financial institution, and to surrender the value of a policy, and registration of bond as a fixed property.“ the doors are open to all farmers who are interested in acquiring loans with Agribank” she said the old farmers should first settle their account is when they will be able to ask for a second loan.
The acting manager further said “the main objective of the bank in the region is to help all farmers to harvest more and have surpluses which they should be able to sell and pay for their families needs. Therefore, everybody is welcome
to the bank at all seasons”. She said.
Meanwhile the Likwama farmers co-operative union a board which assist farmers in Agricultural purposes is not happy with the services offered by Agribank in Katima Mulilo since its inception in June 1996, the management of the Agribank never informed the trade union of farmers that they are giving loans to farmers for starting their farming activities. When contacted for comment, Ricky Lilami, vice-chairperson of Likwama farmers co-operative union,said “Agribank was giving loans to different people who could not be farmers” Lilami stated that the Bank is unable to trace farmers who were given loans, he said his organization was responsible for advising Agribank, on matters of who should be given a loan and who should not. Beneath when farmers failed to turn-up, Agribank consulted the farmers union for intervention in tracing farmers who cannot fulfil their contractual
obligations to repay their loans.
Lilami went on saying “we rejected the offer because we were not consulted during the time when the bank was giving loans to those farmers which they thought were farmers”.
Lilami added into allegations that Agribank in Katima Mulilo has integrated a stiff requirement
to all local farmers who need to apply for loans “today farmers are unable to obtain loans due to the
fact that the criteria which is in place makes it impossible for every farmer to obtain a loan and we understand that loans for 5 years cannot be offered because they need a collateral security”.
He explained that if a farmer wants to obtain a loan of N$200 000 this means that the
farmer should have N$200 000 in the Bank account to be able to pay back the loan.” we
are happy with agribank’s help on the side of cotton, because the bank offers a seasonal
loan of N$400 to farmers who want to buy seeds, fertilizers and equipments”. Concluded
the Vice chairperson of the Likwama farmers Cooperative Union.
Statistic has shown that From 1996 to date, the number of clients has decreased drastically due to lack of security and criteria in place.
The Likwama farmers co-operative union further urged the agricultural bank of Namibia
to drop down their requirement in order to accommodate more farmers.
The traditional khutas were not reached for comments