- Over P65m invested in horticulture in the current financial year
- Plans underway to develop major horticulture blocks
- NDB aims to reduce import bill of fresh produce
“As a development institution, we are alive to the challenges that the country is facing,” the bank’s outgoing CEO, Lorato Morapedi, told journalists at a recent press briefing the NDB’s achievements over 10 years.
“So we decided to pick on key niche sectors that we want to drive, with the horticulture sub-sector being chosen as a niche area on the realisation that Botswana relies strongly on the import of horticultural produce. We decide to challenge ourselves as an agricultural bank that this is a sector that we are going to cultivate and develop.”
Morapedi said for this financial year alone NBD invested over P65 million funding the sector. It is working with key strategic partners like the Ministry of Agriculture, the Local Enterprise Authority (LEA), Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources and horticultural associations to target emerging farmers and established commercial horticultural producers.
“The same thing we did with promoting cereal production with your likes of Pandematenga is going to be replicated within the horticulture space,” Morapedi said. “I am quite happy to announce that we have had major meetings with the big farming blocks like the Tuli Block and Ghanzi and have been able to make inroads financing farmers doing potato production, carrot production, and beetroot and tomato production, all these being large commercial horticultural producers.
“However, we are not only in talks with the big farmers but have also engaged upcoming small horticultural producers, mainly through their associations like the Botswana Horticultural Council, which is an overarching umbrella association for all horticultural associations across the country.”
She added that NDB is engaging with small scale farmers because it is aware that it is not only the handful of large-scale commercial farmers who will be able to meet the production capacity that is required. She noted that emerging horticultural producers are needed to grow into full time commercial producers of horticulture. Morapedi said NDB’s latest strategic plan, the 2019-2022 Letsema Strategy, which was implemented over a three-year period, assisted the bank in zeroing in on the key performance areas. Letsema helped the bank to achieve its mandate and guide its journey in which agriculture remains a key focus.
Morapedi stated that 60 percent of the bank’s disbursements will go to agriculture and the remaining 40 percent to support industries that grow and support the agriculture value chain. Other key areas that the bank is focusing on include fruit production, small stock farming, poultry, arable production and beef production. The CEO also announced her departure from NDB after being at the helm of the development bank for 12 years.