Fiji Development Bank (FDB) Board Chair Mr Damend Gounder recently visited the FDB Northern Branches in Labasa, Seaqaqa and Tavueni for client and staff interaction sessions.
The visit provided an opportunity for Mr Gounder to understand the challenges and opportunities that exist in the northern division and to listen to client feedback to further improve FDB’s services in the region.
Cane Harvester Cooperatives, women entrepreneurs, sugarcane, rice, root crop and vegetable farmers were part of the consultation sessions in Labasa and Seaqaqa. Discussions revolved around FDB’s digitalisation process, requirements for loan application of certain facilities and the potential sectors that can be targeted by the Bank.
The FDB team also paid a visit to Krishna Reddy, the owner of Taveuni Kava & Dalo Dealers in Qarawalu, South Taveuni.
According to client Reddy, demand for kava and dalo in the Auckland market is being met at 50 per cent of the initial requirement, and both sectors have enormous growth potential. The FDB team will be looking at how these sectors can be expanded further.
Following this, the team hosted a consultation session with farmers and the District Advisory at Delaivuna Church Hall in Taveuni. It was pleasing to witness women farmers actively participating in these sessions.
Mr Gounder acknowledged the contribution of the clients to the Fiji economy and explained how the Bank is striving to serve the nation, especially in the agriculture and MSME/SME sectors.
Mr Gounder, who has a business background, emphasised the Bank’s vision of turning customers’ dreams into reality and fostering growth for underbanked communities in Fiji.
He highlighted that farming emerged as a strong sector during the pandemic, therefore, the Bank is further dedicated to providing financing options and business support to underbanked communities as a cornerstone of its mission.
FDB CEO, Mr Saud Minam said through this outreach effort, FDB hopes to continue expanding its reach and impact throughout Fiji.
“It is pleasing to see that North has the highest number of agriculture customers at 57 per cent in sectors such as sugarcane, root crops, livestock and fisheries.”
CEO Minam emphasized that FDB’s combined agriculture and SME customers accounted for 94%, demonstrating how the bank is aligning itself to continue serving its mandated consumers.
The visit demonstrated FDB’s commitment to supporting farmers, small and medium-sized enterprises, and fishermen in their growth journey. Mr Gounder and Mr Minam’s comments highlighted their understanding of the realities of business ownership and how essential it is for businesses in Fiji to receive the right support.