Biomass offers another income stream to farmers

Obrein Simasiku

The Agricultural Bank (AgriBank) and Namibia Biomass Industry Group have sealed an agreement to work on the development and amendment of financing products aimed at scaling-up projects in bush control and biomass utilization, as well as the sharing of data required to develop loan products that are responsive to market needs.

In addition, the Biomass Group will provide expertise through the Advisory Service component, more especially on risk assessment of bush control and biomass utilisation loans, in line with the Bank’s policies and regulations. These were outlined during the signing of a five-year Memorandum of Understanding today, where both parties further agreed to provide technical support in development, outreach and integration of bush control and biomass utilisation industry/farmers’ tools such as the biomass quantification and feed formulation tools.

The MoU further states that the two institutions will be hosting training for existing and prospective farmers, individuals, and Small Medium Enterprises interested in bush control and biomass utilisation activities, including current Agribank loan holders.

Monitoring and evaluation of bush control and biomass utilisation activities is also another identified area of cooperation.

“Signing an MoU with N-BiG, as an industry association in the Namibian biomass sector, comes at an opportune time since Agribank is in the process of rolling out its biomass value chain financing scheme, that was operationalized earlier this year to meet the loan book diversification objective of the Bank. Therefore, as a Bank, we are delighted to be in this partnership since it talks directly to our strategic objectives.” said Agribank’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Raphael Karuaihe.

Agribank is a state-owned enterprise, mandated to promote agriculture and related activities by lending money to individuals and financial intermediaries through the provision of affordable, innovative, and inclusive financing solutions. On the other hand, N-BiG is a non-profit industry association representing a wide range of members active within the Namibia bush biomass sector with the vision of shaping the future of bioenergy and bio-based products in Namibia.

Meanwhile, N-BiG, CEO, Progress Kashandula, described the agreement as a major milestone in the development efforts of the bush biomass sector in Namibia, through a public-private cooperation approach. Furthermore, he said, the biomass sector holds potential to contribute to socio-economic development and an inclusive bio-economy for Namibia.

“The biomass industry as a whole has the potential to improve the streamflow of underground water, refine rangeland productivity, create sustainable employment, and serve as an opportunity for farmers to diversify revenue streams. In addition, the industry will promote climate-smart agricultural practices.”

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