Chief executive officer of the National Development Bank (NDB) Ms Lorato Morapedi has revealed that as part of its business continuity plan, the bank will reposition as an Agri-bank.
This, she stated during a press briefing in Gaborone on July 25, was part of a review of the bank’s Letsema Strategy for 2019-2022 which would target emerging and commercial farming prospects.
She described the repositioning as part of their commitment to ensure that the country is self-sustaining and that agriculture could contribute a huge portion to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
According to Ms Morapedi, the bank had made overtures towards the reduction of Botswana’s food import bill by five per cent by March 2022 through Letsema strategy.
She said through the Letsema expansion strategy which aligned to government transformation and recovery plan, they envisioned realisation of 90 per cent local food production from NDB funded projects annually.
To achieve this, Ms Morapedi noted that the bank would intensify funding in high impact farming sub-sectors which included horticulture, fruit production, small stock farming, poultry, arable production, and beef production as concerted efforts towards improved production output.
She noted that priority areas such as Pandamatenga and Mosisedi Farms were some of strategic areas they were looking at to achieve high output by 2022, noting the bank had injected about P344 million in Pandamatenga and P47 million in Mosisedi farms in the past five years.
She said through their funded agri-businesses, they envisaged annual local cereal production to increase to 65 000 tonnes in 2022 with an increase in average yield per hectare from 3 tonness to 4.5 tonnes by the same year.
Ms Morapedi further said the bank had for the past 10 years invested a total of P1.7 billion in different agricultural sub-sectors whose repositioning would ensure that focused investments in agricultural commercialisation could capacitate growth.