Nelly Bassily | July 4, 2011
The chance to save and borrow money can help farmers invest in their farming business or start another small business. But few banks will lend money to farmers, so microcredit initiatives and savings unions have developed to provide this service. The village bank network, known in Madagascar by its French acronym, CECAM, is Madagascar’s first savings and credit union. It provides savings and credit services which respond to the needs and situations of farmers. It is supported by the government of Madagascar.
Here are some websites with background information and discussion of the village banks concept:
These two are available in French only:
Farm Radio International has produced a series of scripts about micro-finance and credit:
-Women and credit – Part 1: Women learn about credit: http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/57-3script_en.asp.
-Women and credit – Part 2: Women start a revolving loan fund: http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/57-4script_en.asp
-Women and credit – Part 3: Women set up a purchasing and marketing cooperative: http://www.farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/57-5script_en.asp
A related story from Farm Radio Weekly:
-Democratic Republic of the Congo: Local bank reaps local benefits (FRW 72, June 2009). http://weekly.farmradio.org/2009/06/29/2-democratic-republic-of-the-congo-local-bank-reaps-local-benefits-syfia-grands-lacs/
You may wish to prepare a program on microfinance or savings initiatives for farmers. Find out about local institutions or government agencies that may support such initiatives. They may lead you to farmers or farmers’ groups you could interview. Ask what sort of a scheme it is, who it is aimed at, how it operates and how it is tailored to farmers’ needs and situations. For example, is collateral or a guarantor’s signature needed? How easy or difficult is it for farmers to fulfil these and any other conditions? What are the downsides to taking a loan or contributing to a savings fund? Ask about the types of initiatives that farmers have funded using loans or savings, and how these have improved people’s lives or incomes.