The financial institutions that attended the introductory workshops included Bank South Pacific, Westpac, Mi Bank, Women’s Microbank, People’s Microbank, Kada Poroman Micro Finance, Nasfund Contributors Savings and Loans and East New Britain Savings and Loans.
Also at the workshop were representatives from the Productive Partnership in Agriculture Project (PPAP) and World Bank.
The workshop was held purposely for financial institutions to partner with CEFI in agriculture lending and implementing the Market For Village Farmers Project.
The workshop also featured presentations from Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Deputy Acting Secretary Regina Nukudj and Market For Village Farmers Project Manager Robert Lutulete.
Thierry Mahieux, an international consultant with International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), also spoke on Digital Financial Services For Agriculture-Innovation in Agriculture Lending and Risk Mitigation via zoom.
CEFI’s Executive Director, Saliya Ranasinghe, in his opening remarks told representatives from the eight financial institutions that CEFI would like to be equal partners with the institutions in implementing the Market For Village Farmers project.
“One of the differences with this particular project is that we would like the banks to be equal partners in project implementation from the beginning, so you all will know what is happening and what each partner is doing and embrace the process of the project,” Ranasignhe said.
Ranasignhe encouraged the financial institutions to share their perception about agriculture lending, adding the project had all the important components to support the banks.
Some of these important components that Ranasignhe highlighted included technical service provider, digital financial services (DFS) with addition to market information and product design and risk mitigation.
“We would also like to introduce some risk mitigation so one option is that we have Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG) to design a credit guarantee cooperation so we would have a special dedicated window for agriculture lending,” he continued.
“If we all are to change agriculture in Papua New Guinea, you all should play a pivotal role and take unwanted risk, but we will revise better means of mitigating the risk and take it forward and we are positive that this project will be a landmark from which we can definitely show to other agriculture projects how to work with banks.”
Manager-Banking Supervision-BPNG, Sabina Deklin, acknowledged and thanked the financial institutions for their commitment in continuing to bring financial services to Papua New Guineans.
“The focus for financial inclusion has been the focus of the Central Bank for a number of years and this is ensuring in partnering with the financial institution that we take these financial services to the rural areas and CEFI is a creation of this and its one of its core mandates,” Deklin stated.