IFIC Bank Limited has partnered with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Bangladesh to pilot a new innovative agri-credit facility for farmers in Jessore and Satkhira districts.
IRRI, Bangladesh in coordination with IFIC Bank and with support from USAID’s mSTAR project launched this innovative intervention recently at the Rural Reconstruction Foundation (RRF) in Jessore, according to a statement..
A total of 25 farmers were also present at the event to have their registration done with the IFIC Bank’s MFS platform. In this system, mobile phones will be used to transfer money from banks to farmers. Farmers will be able to pay for inputs and services by transferring funds from their IFIC Mobile Bank account to the merchant account of retailers of IFIC Mobile Bank.
Kbd. Chaitanya Kumar Das, Director (Monitoring), Field Services Wing, Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) graced the event as chief guest while Mr. Shah Md. Moinuddin, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Business, IFIC Bank Ltd, Kbd. Chandi Das Kundu, Additional Director, DAE, Jessore Region, and Shah Abul Kashem, Deputy General Manager, Bangladesh Bank, Khulna were present as special guest. The event was chaired by Mr. Timothy Russell, Chief of Party (CoP) of Feed the Future Bangladesh Rice Value Chain Project.
Under the pilot project, IFIC Bank Limited will offer farmers one of their newest product IFIC AAmar Account, which is a unique transactional account where both deposit and loan facilities are bundled in a single account. Farmers will operate the account and avail agri-credit through IFIC Mobile Banking system. IFIC Bank introduces this type of account for the first time in Bangladesh.
“This mobile phone based banking system will encourage farmers’ groups to invest as a business group which will eventually support the cash flow in the country’s economy. This type of initiatives is important to implement the government’s vision for 2041. Quality agri business depends on quality production, processing and marketing of agri products which can be expanded by a financial service like this – a mobile phone based banking transaction. This will save farmers’ time and money that now occurs from the hassle of commuting to a bank branch from their remote locations,” said Mr. Kbd. Chaitanya Kumar Das, Director (Monitoring), Field Services Wing, DAE.
“Farmers have to pay approximately 25 – 30% interest when they borrow from money lenders to continue their cultivation. So, IRRI and IFIC Bank joined forces with a proposal to develop an agri-credit program through mobile phone based banking. We are now here with you with this innovative financial service where the interest rate will be counted on the outstanding money only… This has been launched as a pilot project for six months. We want to continue this noble work in the future. So, your timely repayment of the loans will let us provide you with more credit as a tested party,” said Mr. Shah Md. Moinuddin, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Business, IFIC Bank.
Event participants, among others, were Mrs. Ferdousi Begum, Head of Retail Bank, Mr. Asaduzzaman, Head of Corporate Communication and Branding, and other regional and divisional employees and of IFIC Bank, Mr. M. Ataur Rahman, Team Lead of mSTAR/Bangladesh project, Mr. A.K.M. Ferdous, Senior Specialist – Agricultural Research and Development, and Hub Manager – Jessore, Feed the Future Bangladesh Rice Value Chain Project, IRRI, Bangladesh, Mr. Md. Faruk Hossain, Senior Specialist – Agricultural Research and Development, and Hub Manager – Khulna, Feed the Future Bangladesh Rice Value Chain Project, IRRI, Bangladesh, Bikash Kumar Roy, Deputy Director, Jagarani Chakra Foundation (JCF).