NBS Bank Plc has acquired a 10-year Five million US dollar loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to enable the Bank to provide specialized financial services and support to businesses involved in the agriculture sector.
IFAD is a specialized agency of the United Nations, dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in developing countries.
Speaking at the agribusiness conference organized in partnership with Netherlands-based Rabo Bank and IFAD, NBS Bank Deputy Chief Executive Officer Temwani Simwaka, said the Bank’s role is to make sure that farmers and other businesses access financing to grow crops, produce, and add value.
“Looking at tea and macadamia, these are long-term crops and for macadamia it takes farmers seven years to start producing a crop that they can sell. As a Bank, we partnered with Rabo Bank to give us technical advice because it is a big agricultural bank. After that, we spoke to our customers and understood their needs and with that understanding we partnered with IFAD to support us by giving the funding so that we can lend to our farmers.”
“As NBS Bank, it would have been difficult to use our money for those long periods of time hence the support from our partners, RaboBank and IFAD. Again, most of these farmers export their crop and most of their costs are in foreign currency so it just makes sense for us to get money in US Dollars,” said Simwaka.
IFAD Country Representative Bernadette Mukonyora said their portfolio in the country is currently valued at 480 million US dollars supporting various sectors and sub sectors under agriculture, and irrigation among others.
“What we are doing now is looking at the agricultural sector as a critical driver of the Malawian economy. MW2063 talks about agricultural commercialization, we want to create value in this country, we want to create prosperity, and the agricultural sector is the one that will assist the government achieve that objective.”
“Today we are launching our first non-sovereign operation with NBS Bank and under this program, we are providing a loan of 5 million US dollars. Part of this funding has come from the government of Germany, and then we as IFAD lend this money to NBS Bank which is supporting value chain development and financing to tea and macadamia farmers in this country,” said Mukonyora.
In his remarks, Tea Association of Malawi Vice Chairperson Atu Kalinga said the market has been very depressed in the past two or three years.
“Appropriate financing is a major problem, so this facility that NBS Bank is bringing in will solve the problems,” said Katunga.
NBS Bank re-established its Agribusiness unit two years ago.