The Fiji Development Bank (FDB) has been at the forefront assisting farmers to take advantage of mechanized agriculture and boost their crop production.
FDB Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Saud Minam said the Bank will continue to assist small and medium-sized farmers towards the mechanization of their farms as this was part of the FDB’s strategic direction.
Minam said: “be it individuals or cooperatives, FDB has a solution for our farmers in terms of assisting them to mechanize their farms through the purchase of farm vehicles, machinery, implements, or equipment.”
He reiterated that the Bank’s core business segments were small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and agriculture.
“FDB’s 83% of the customer base are amongst these two categories – 45% is the SME customer base while 38% is agriculture and we will continue to tailor-make financial solutions to assist farmers and businesses in these sectors.”
In a recent partnership with the Fijian Government, the Bank assisted Ratu Naevo Farms Cooperative Limited to purchase a farm tractor. The tractor was acquired for $77,200 through a grant of $51,466 from the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport (MCTTT) and a loan of about $26,000 from FDB.
Before registering as a cooperative in December 2021, the Ratu Naevo Farms Cooperative was operating as a group. Forty-seven farmers are now part of this cooperative who are mostly engaged in vegetable, root crop, and suki farming.
CEO Minam acknowledged the Government for initiating such a partnership that would enhance sustainable mechanization of farms in Fiji.
“FDB has provided the loan on very easy terms. The affordable repayments will ensure that they can work towards the growth of their crops while being able to meet their dues,” he said.
Minam highlighted that this purchase by the Cooperative will increase power supply to their agricultural crop production.
“With this tractor, the farmers will be able to complete more tasks at the right time. Not only this, but the use of this machine will increase their land productivity and eventually improve the quality of cultivation. Use of such machinery will also relieve the burden of labour shortages.”
The Acting Prime Minister and Attorney-General, Hon Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum launched the cooperative and handed over a Massey Ferguson 2635 tractor at Nawaka Village, Nadi on Wednesday.