Keetmanshoop — Agribank has advised southern communal farmers to consider venturing into new farming types and not only focus on animal husbandry.
Ivan Kahuikee, Agribank's Southern Branch sales consultant, advised the communal farmers in the Hardap and //Kharas regions, who are very much focused on animal husbandry especially goats, sheep and cattle, that there is a need to move into other areas. Kahuikee, who was in the //Kharas region to promote Agribank's non-collateral loan product among communal farmers last Thursday, indicated that many farmers in the two regions concentrated on livestock farming, despite there being many other areas that they can venture into. He said there were plenty of unexplored fields in the region such as poultry, grape and pig farming, and it is up to the farmers to grab such opportunities and seek financial assistance from the bank to venture into these areas.
Farmers are over reliant on farming with animals, "but there are a lot of other opportunities and demands for other products out there and it is only up to the people to stand up and approach the bank for a loan", he said.
Kahuikee warned that focusing only on livestock is like putting all one's eggs in one basket, which he said is not safe as the industry might encounter problems such as drought, Therefore, it is wise to diversify, he said.
"Also diversify your income; when one industry is hit with problems then another industry can supplement your income as a farmer, rather than relying only on one source of income," he added.
There is progress on diversification, as there are farmers who have shown interest in the poultry and pig industry so far. Therefore, Kahuikee urged more farmers to consider diversifying into these areas, adding that the bank also assists farmers with training to ensure they know what they are doing before they are granted loans.
Any communal farmer can qualify for N$5 000-N$500 000 loan at an interest rate of 8 percent, provided they are Namibians aged 21-55 years old and have a permanent job.