Land Bank presents turnaround strategy

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pretoria - The Land Bank has presented a turnaround strategy which is hoped will reverse its financial woes.

The presentation was made during a meeting between the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the Chairpersons of the Portfolio Committee and the Select Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and the MECs for Agriculture on Wednesday.

The bank is facing financial difficulties, which began as a result of non-payment of loans by some farmers.

Department spokesperson, Steve Galane, said in an effort to turn this around, the bank was revising its credit and pricing model to ensure it became the developmental bank it was mandated to be.

"It was also agreed that an alternative funding model needed to be found for the bank," said Mr Galane.

The Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Rural Development and Land Reform have also agreed to take over the production and the mortgage loans, which would further relieve pressure on the bank.

"The gathering also suggested that there should be an investigation into reviving the now dismantled Agriculture Credit Board as an option to support the ailing farming sector," he said.

The bank's turnaround strategy will form part of government's wider efforts to speed up the delivery of land and agrarian reform in the country. The bank is critical in helping farmers access funding.

The delegates agreed to speed up service delivery in terms of the five priority areas which are the creation of decent work and sustainable livelihoods, education, health, rural development, food security and land reform as well as the fight against crime and corruption.