Agribank and the GIZ/MAWF Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation Project signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend and strengthen their cooperation and to guide the successful implementation of their agreed activities and projects as well as to inform future strategic interventions. The MoU will be effective until September 2021 with an option for renewal. The extension of the agreement comes after the two parties had accomplished remarkable achievements in previous agreement.
Those achievements include:
The new MoU reflects the two Parties’ intentions to extend and strengthen their collective activities such as the development of financing products aimed at scaling-up projects in bush control and biomass utilisation, using the expertise of the De-bushing Advisory Service (DAS) – a national information and capacity building hub on sustainable bush control and bush based biomass utilisation to advise on risk assessment of applicable loans, sharing of information relevant to the core business of each Party, hosting of capacity building activities for farmers and SMEs interested in bush control and biomass utilisation as well as current loan holders and monitoring and evaluation of bush control and biomass utilisation activities by loan holders.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Agribank Chief Executive Officer, Sakaria Nghikembua, noted that Agribank and GIZ enjoy their mutual relationship, and the extension of the agreement demonstrates the two institutions’ commitments in transforming the agricultural sector as well as their common goal in contributing to the socio-economic development of Namibia. “The new agreement symbolises common goals the two institutions share, we have achieved a number of commendable achievements set in the previous agreement. The new agreement will strengthen our area of cooperation and will guide the successful implementation of our agreed activities enabling us to help more farmers and entrepreneurs to access financing and agri-advisory services and turn the challenge of bush encroachment into value addition opportunities,” said Nghikembua.
On his part, the Team Leader of the GIZ/MAWF Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation Project, Mr Johannes Laufs, is confident that the renewal of this MoU will set the two institutions at the forefront of bush biomass activities, specifically on access to finance. “Our strengths as a development agency is in providing the necessary technical assistance to enable Namibian institutions, such as Agribank, to tackle challenges of bush encroachment, thereby contributing to economic development and fostering a new economic sector. 2019 can be considered as a turning point in this regard. While the country suffers from its worst drought of the century, the utilisation of bush-biomass has emerged as a viable solution, effectively contributing to drought mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
Partly driven by dire need and partly driven by opportunity, a significant number of farmers have taken up alternative value chains, such as bush-based animal fodder production and charcoal production. Membership in the sector associations has risen sharply and an estimated 10.000 workers, 1% of Namibia’s working population, is now employed in bush control and biomass processing”. The General Manager of the De-bushing Advisory Service, Mr Progress Kashandula, complemented these remarks and highlighted key achievements of the previous years of cooperation between DAS and AgriBank.
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