THE Agribank and German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH signed a three-year agreement on Thursday.
The agreement is for research in agriculture and related sectors to support informed interventions by Agribank, the government and its agencies, private investors and development partners to achieving sustainable growth and develop future farming models in Namibia.
According to a press release, the parties will cooperate in capacity building of communal farmers, training of trainers in the Farmer Business School (FBS) concept and to share information on lessons learnt through advisory services.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Agribank chief executive officer Sakaria Nghikembua said Namibia requires "a modern agricultural sector that can address unemployment, nutrition security and poverty eradication through growth".
He said the bank will oversee the implementation of the desk study and gap analysis as well as the socio-economic and productivity survey, training farmers in technical skills enhancement and agricultural business development, as well as participate in the roll-out of the GIZ Farmer Business School (FBS) concept in Namibia. GIZ will provide financial support for the implementation of the agreement. Agribank plays a transformational role in agriculture through the provision of affordable financial solutions to farmers and support services through training and mentorship programmes.
"As a bank, we continue to advocate the adoption of climate resilient farming methods and on-farm diversification," Nghikembua said, adding that the research will help identify the needs of farmers so that concrete, evidence-based solutions can be implemented.
GIZ country director Thomas Kirsch emphasised that as a development partner, GIZ is committed to providing support services to improve production efficiency and increase on-farm income and improve livelihoods and nutrition.
"Our two institutions have a long history of collaborating since 2010 with the implementation of the Farmers' Support Project to the establishment of the Agri Advisory Services Division (AASD) within Agribank, to capacitate Namibian farmers," he said.
Kirsch added that Agribank, as a provider of rural credit, plays a crucial role in positioning the whole Agri-food sector for sustainability.
GIZ will provide 20 000 euros (N$320 000) for the study as well as 120 000 euros (N$1,9 million) to be allocated to AASD to train farmers and take part in the roll-out of GIZ's Farmer Business Schools (FBS)' concept.