THE Centre for Excellence in Financial Inclusion (CEFI) is implementing subcomponent 2.2 of the Market for Village Farmers (MVF) project which is focused on providing a holistic training and innovative financial products and services to improve lives in six selected provinces in the Highlands region, Morobe and East New Britain.
The Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) and the CEFI have signed a five-year sub project agreement in June 2020 to improve access to financial inclusion services and products.
CEFI in collaboration with partner financial institutions will develop a business development plan, including a three-year training plan to build internal organisation capacities and ensure that they provide affordable and diversified financial services to 25,000 farming households and value chain players.
Executive director, Saliya Ranasinghe says CEFI has begun the ground works after the signing of the agreement with FPDA.
“CEFI has recruited full time staff and has established an office in Goroka, Eastern Highlands to administer the financial inclusion activities,” Ranasinghe says.
“We will also work with financial institutions to develop suitable agriculture lending products for the sector as well as digitising payment for farmers.
“CEFI with its partner training providers and financial institutions will educate fresh produce farmers on money management skills, develop community-level savings and innovative lending schemes that will pave the way to support farmers to build a strong savings culture and grow their businesses into viable commercial businesses.”
From Oct 12-27, 2020, CEFI participated in four roadshow events hosted by MVF across the highlands and Morobe province to promote the project and to seek partnership support from provincial administration to deliver the project in the selected provinces.
During the roadshow, memoranda of agreement (MOA) were signed between International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL), FPDA and the respective provinces to improve market access to farmers by facilitating their transition from semi-subsistence to agro farming businesses.
CEFI’s special projects manager Busa Wenogo said CEFI would work strategically to deliver the financial inclusion component.
“The important thing to achieve in this project is for the banks to work with the farmers,” Wenogo told the participants at Banz.
“We will focus on two areas, training for farmers in financial literacy and this will include the whole family, both father and mother from one household.
“The concept is to support the whole family, both parents working together and making the decisions for the family on how to look after their money and that is what the training will be about.
“The other area we (CEFI) will be concentrating is bringing the banks into provinces, not only commercial banks but micro-banks and savings and loan societies so people will have a number of choices to bank their money with any financial intuitions they choose.
“We look forward to continue working with the project management unit of the Market Village Farmers Project housed within the FPDA, DAL and IFAD to ensure that financial inclusion contributes to improving the wellbeing and livelihood of the farming households in the six identified provinces and beyond,” Wenogo said.
The roadshow and workshop concluded in Lae on Oct 27, with a MOA signed between the provincial administration and project management unit.
The MVF project is valued at $USD38 million (about K139 million) is executed by the Government through DAL and implemented by FPDA, with funding from IFAD.
- Story and pictures by CEFI Communications and Stakeholder Mobilisation Unit.