DFCC Bank, the premier commercial bank in Sri Lanka, has been at the forefront of enhancing the development of the Sri Lanka dairy sector through innovative microfinancing solutions from specialized Value Chain Financing schemes. The Bank has pioneered lending to further the progress of their industry, allowing farmers in one of Sri Lanka’s key economic sectors to better their livelihoods amidst a strained economy and increasingly difficult financial conditions.
The objective of such initiatives is to address a significant difficulty faced by many small-scale farmers – the lack of access to adequate long-term financing opportunities because This stands to enhance the development by empowering the entire value chain, securing long-term growth and stability of the industry.
Among the many avenues in which DFCC Bank has provided financial and technical support to farmers, a key example is a partnership with Market-Oriented Dairy (MOD), funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ‘Food for Progress’ program. The initiative consisted of the provision of customized lending facilities for farmers and was implemented by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC), who managed the technical support provided to both the dairy farmers, and all staff directly involved in dairy sector-focused lending activities.
Another example is a project that involved granting developmental loans to MSME’s within their communities, strengthening their potential to earn, while securing and improving their livelihoods. Implemented in partnership with Chello Dairy Products Pvt Ltd, Chello involves the transfer of farmer loan payments directly to a DFCC Bank account in return for the farmers’ supply of milk. DFCC in turn ensures access to readily financial support enabling them to have a stronger platform for carrying out dairy-farming activities. DFCC Bank has further provided loan conditions to ensure higher accessibility and applicability, including satisfactory pre-agreed risk ratings and reduced processing fees, giving the current difficult socio-economic conditions.
The project also focuses on inculcating the habit of saving across the dairy farmer community, through a special cash build-up scheme involving the transfer of a small sum to dairy farmer’s accounts, together with the loan installment directly from the promoter Company.
Commenting on this initiative, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. L. Silva stated, “We at DFCC place great importance on supporting the growth of the dairy industry, specifically through the empowerment of small farmers who play a significant role in driving it forward. One of the core values of our premier banking is providing robust value propositions, and our many innovative financing solutions, from Value Chan Financing Schemes to partnerships on financial support, showcase our consistent support and the firm priority we’ve assigned to ensuring the prosperity of the sector.”
Through the plethora of innovative financing activities, DFCC Bank has supported over 1,000 farmers, with financing support and has provided technical training to a further 300. The Bank is also currently working on two major initiatives, both current development – showcasing its commitment to continuously drive growth in and develop the dairy industry in Sri Lanka.