CEFI, Care International PNG Sign Deal
Center for Excellence and Financial Inclusion has signed a partnership with Care International PNG to provide training to 25,000 farming households in six provinces.
The signing is for the Family Farm Team Training as part of the Market Village Farmers Project funded by the state and worth US$38million (K131. 8m).
There are three major components to this project and the major component is focused on financial inclusion where CEFI will focus on delivering of the Family Farm Team Training and the other component with being engaging financial institutions to provide financial services to the farmers with the help of Care International PNG as the technical partner.
The training will focus on livelihood and financial literacy.
CEFI executive director Saliya Ranasinghe added that CEFI has been on the forefront of financial inclusion seeing growth by 1.3 million of bank accounts from 1.5 million before CEFI was established in 2013, to now 3.5 million accounts to date.
He said while this is a huge achievement there is still a long way to go.
Mr Ranasinghe said the market for village farmers is a very unique project in the agriculture development in PNG.
“The main thrust of this project is moving the farmer into commercially farming proposition with a huge technical assistance component which will be facilitated.
“Our partnership with Care is to build the capacity of these farmers to sustain the gains that they have been getting and improve the lives of the people in the long term,” he said.
“CEFI also have another important component where we are trying to link the formal banking sector with the farmers.
“Agriculture lending has always been a challenge in the country, we are expecting commercial banks, micro banks and savings and loan societies in the country to develop innovative lending products and savings products for the farming communities.”
Mr Ranasinghe said they are looking at digital financial services as an avenue so that farmers will be able to do transactions from their doorsteps and also banks will be able to track transactions farmers do.
“We do understand that it’s not an easy task to do but we are willing to take up that particular challenge and do a new vision for the farmers in this country.
“We thanked the government of PNG through DAL for embarking on such an ambitious project for the farming communities in the country and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) for funding this particular project, “ he said.
Care International PNG country Director Ms Justine McMahon said the project has been talked about for three years is something they are looking forward to and are excited to assist and impact lives of 25000 rural farming households in PNG.