WE ARE HERE TO SERVE YOU: Karabo Musa from the NDB

NDB encourages youth to invest in Farming projects

National Development Bank (NDB) Communications Manager, Karabo Musa says more young people must venture into arable, subsistence and commercial farming.

Musa said with the dominance of technology in modern Agriculture, farming has become too technical and required access to information which enhances the quality of modern farming.

Speaking to AgriVoice at her offi ce last week Musa encouraged young people to take on the challenge and invest in arable and other farming initiatives through the government and the bank‘s credit access partnership such as the Integrated Support Programme for Arable Agricultural Development (ISPAAD) Credit Facility.

She said that the loans were seasonal and the farmer had up to a year to pay off the loan.

The facility allows farmers who utilize the Ministry of Agriculture’s ISPAAD initiative to borrow money from NDB to buy seeds, fertilizers, diesel, pesticides, farm machinery and farm machinery.

They can also get a loan to pay for labour costs for planting, weeding, bird scaring, harvesting, threshing, packaging, as well as transport to markets and the cost of implement repairs.

According Musa who is tasked with taking NBD to the people, loans under this arrangement whose value minimum value is P20 000.00 and maximum P30 000.00 are insured and the insurance policy is facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture to cushion the farmer against losses.

“If for reasons beyond their control such as poor rainfall the farmer is unable to pay off the loan the insurance will pay it off and leave the farmer with some money in his pocket.

“The interest on the loans is also subsidized which means the farmer pays less interest than they would was there no such provision”, she said.

Musa encouraged more youth to invest in Agriculture as the government and institutions such as the NDB were calling on young people to take on the challenge and invest in arable farming, Musa told AgriVoice:

“Arable farming is dominated by the elderly whose production is aff ected by the challenges of modern farming technology as well as their age.

“Young people should take advantage of this and invest in arable farming.

With all the risk involved it is a viable economic activity worth pursuing”, adding that employed young people can invest in the volume driven industry in phases and use their earning to pay off the loans as an investment for the future.

Musa, whose interest is in grape farming was quick to point out that even though the money from arable farming took a while to come in, it was something worth investing in.

Musa went on to say that the increasing number of experienced and aspiring farmers coming to the NDB for loans was a sign that a lot of people were taking the call to take up farming seriously.

Meanwhile the bank has a credit facility under which commercial farmers can get loans of up to P6 000 000.00. for arable farming

“Farmers do come for commercial farming loans and they are able to raise the security and the collateral required”, Musa intimated.

This is a sure indication that there is a return on investment on farming projects.

Musa urged farmers to take up the “Buy Botswana” initiative and produce enough crops to reduce imports on agricultural products and to also improve the livelihood of Botswana farmers.

“It is high time Agiculture becomes a way of diversifying Botswana’s income. That there is a need to subsidize income from natural resources and Tourism is reality. It is time the youth make it their responsibility to contribute to the development of our country,” she concluded.

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