The daily ‘Prothom Alo’ a leading Bangla newspaper along with the USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity (AESA) project organized a round table discussion titled “Expansion of Agricultural Credit from Bank to the Smallholder Farmers” with a focus to the project invented ‘A-Card’ initiative.
‘A-Card’ is a smart debit card invented for the smallholder farmers, which facilitates farmers’ access to the agricultural credit for digital purchase of farm inputs and services with low interest rate and flexible payback period.
The objective of the round table meeting was to introduce the ‘A-Card’ to the national policy makers and other relevant stakeholders for strategic discussions and decision in improving and expanding the invention in accordance with the government policy.
Dr. Shamsul Alam, senior secretary and member of planning commission of the government of Bangladesh, Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF); Md Arfan Ali, managing director of Bank Asia; Dr. M Ehsanur Rahman, executive director, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Mohammad Sayed Shibly, project management specialist of USAID Bangladesh along with Bidyuth K. Mahalder, chief of party, AESA project, Anowarul Haq, Director-ERPP, CARE, Tania Sharmin, National Technical Coordinator, AESA Project, and representatives from A-Card implementing partner NGOs, farmers, retailers, media personnel, academicians took part in the discussion session.
In the discussion session the speakers highlighted that the ‘A-Card’ is a unique innovation and today only example in Bangladesh that will make revolutionary change in Smallhodlers’ access to low cost agricultural credit through bank using the digital platform. This invention will help rural women for their economic empowerment and improved decision making process for agricultural farming system. The government policy maker mentioned that the use of ‘A-Card’ should be widely increased to incorporate with other agricultural activities of the government. At the same time all the speakers focused their role in the expansion of such initiative and showed their keen interest in continuing their involvement with the A-Card. Finally, the meeting decided to emphasis on capacity building of the lender on farm production and financial literacy and linked them with the output market system for improved productivity and profitability.
The round table meeting has been covered by two leading newspapers i.e. The Prothom Alo and The Daily Star on 8 December 2017 issue.