Agribank mentorship boosts farmers' income

23 December 2020 | Agriculture

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



Agribank recently conducted a mentorship impact survey which showed a significant improvement in the income of farmers who benefited from the bank's mentorship and training scheme.

According to Agribank, the study showed that prior to the mentorship, 96% of the farmers recorded an annual income below N$100 000 from their farms. However, after the introduction of the mentorship programme, 39% of Agribank's mentees indicated an increase in their earnings, above or equal to N$100 000 per year. This was mainly due to improvement in their farm management and marketing skills, says Agribank.

The study further indicated that farmers valued the mentorship service, as was shown by the mentee rating of the service between excellent (72%) and good (21%).

Also, 92% expressed willingness to pay for mentorship services, but at an affordable rate. Agribank says the farmers have witnessed improvements in record keeping and farm management skills.

They have also experienced improved calving, lambing, kidding, offtake and declines in mortality rates across all livestock categories.

According to Agribank, fulltime mentees have expressed greater effects of mentorship with more significant improvements expressed in reproduction and mortality rates.

The farmers also reported that they had higher farm incomes.

The highest increases were reported by commercial mentees, followed by resettlement, small-scale commercial farms, Affirmative Action Loan Scheme (AALS) farmers and communal farmers. Other findings of the study indicated that the drive towards diversification requires mentorship to impart skills in diversified enterprises. Agribank says diversification of the current mentor pool to include crop and poultry enterprises will be crucial.

“The need for an increase in physical or virtual training events focusing on diversified enterprises and input substitution such as fodder production will be required.”

The study suggested that mentorship should ideally be offered to clients that are full-time farmers as mentorship requires time, dedication and the application of skills learnt. Moreover, results show greater effects of mentorship on full-time farmers.

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