by Reianne Quilloy and Trina Mendoza
Kampot Province, Cambodia — A business forum on loan products and banking services for the postharvest rice sector was conducted on 16-17 June 2012. Thirty-seven participants from micro- financing institutions (MFI), key farmers, cooperative heads, private sector rice processors, and IRRI project staff graced this event.
The forum aimed to 1) increase awareness of the learning alliance partners on loan products and services offered by MFIs to support adoption of improved postharvest technologies and entrepreneurial business models; 2) facilitate learning and exchanges of information amongst farmer entrepreneurs, rural service providers, rice processors, technology suppliers, policy-makers, government agencies, and financial representatives regarding industry opportunities and needs; and 3) discuss ideas and possible next steps for developing actor-specific business plans and links to loan products, banking services, and information from MFIs.
IRRI-ADB Postharvest project experts Alfred Schmidley and Pyseth Meas provided a walk-through of the project, while stressing the importance of scaling out improved postharvest technologies in the business model context by bringing financial institutes closer to the farmers, millers, traders, and service providers. Representatives of the three MFIs also presented information on their respective loan products and services. Group discussions were held as well to answer more queries from the participants.
A more intensive forum will be conducted in mid-August either at Kampong Thom or Prey Veng. In the next series of seminars, top management of MFIs will be invited to be collaborators to help borrowers understand and use a business plan, and identify technical training support needs.
Attached is the detailed workshop report written by Sorn Vichet and Alfred Schmidley.