The National Development Bank (NDB) has invested a total of P622 million in agriculture, 70 percent of which will go towards dry land farming. This was revealed by Chief Executive Officer of NDB, Lerato Morapedi, during the Pandamatenga Commercial Farmers Association (PCFA) annual agriculture show in Pandamatenga recently.
Morapedi said during the current ploughing season, the bank invested P70 million and P50 million in Pandamatenga and Mosisedi farms respectively, which represent the largest dry land farming and grain producing areas in the country.
“This brings our investment in dry land farming in Chobe just over the past five years to P204 million. This represents our unequivocal commitment in pursuit of food security and self sustenance in the country. Our relationship with farmers in this area dates as far back as the 80’s and out of this we have even produced second generation farmers,” she said.
Morapedi said that NDB has decided to build long term relationship with various farmers associations through sponsorships. She revealed that this year the bank sponsored Mosisedi Farmers Association, Botswana Young Farmers Association, Botswana Crop Producers Association and Sandveld Farmers Association to the tune of P287 000. She also said NDB has on several occasions sponsored farmers to attend the annual NAMPO Show in South Africa for benchmarking purposes.
“Last year we sponsored the Chobe Agricultural show to the tune of P50 000 and this year we increased the amount to P150 000. This brings the total amount that the bank has spent on sponsoring agricultural shows to P437 000. This is because we as NDB understand the value of networking and benchmarking for this sector and that is why we continue to invest so much in these events,” added Morapedi.
She said that agricultural shows are very important as they afford the bank an opportunity to get feedback from its clients and key stakeholders in the sector. She also said the shows are very important as they give farmers a platform to learn from each other, share skills and knowledge and also discuss pertinent issues that are common to them in an endeavour to improve the contribution of agriculture towards the country’s GDP.
“The Pandamatenga Commercial Farmers Association is a milestone particularly given the area’s significant contribution towards total grain production in the country,” she said.
NDB also signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Pandamatenga Commercial Farmers Association which will run for the next three years. The agreement will formalize the bank’s relationship with the Association. The two will work jointly on among others, provision of appropriate and improved banking solutions and advisory services to farmers, structuring and timely access of seasonal loans for the benefit of both parties and contribution of the growth of the arable sub sector.
The Pandamatenga Commercial Farmers Association annual agricultural show was established in 2012 to bring farmers and stakeholders together to improve the agricultural sector in the country.