Dhaka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) and USAID’s Agriculture Value Chains (AVC) Project organized a workshop on “Alternative Financing Options in Agriculture Sector” at DCCI on 7 May, 2017.
Md. Mahadi Hasan, Manager Investment, BD Venture Limited, Kamrul Hasan, Director, Consiglieri Limited and Bijon Islam, CEO, Light Castle Partners made power point presentations on alternative financing in agriculture sector. The speakers said government has formulated Alternative Investment Rules in 2015. They also said Alternative Financing in agriculture is not popular in Bangladesh because of its risk management issues. But this will help capital starved SMEs or start-ups to grow. Few venture capital companies and private equity association in Bangladesh are operating alternative finance. They also said that any kind of backward and forward linkage firms can be considered for alternative investment. Agriculture sector has huge opportunity for financial services for its potential returns.
DCCI President Abul Kasem Khan said Bangladesh’s agriculture sector is the largest sector contributing to the economy of Bangladesh. Still Bangladesh’s economy is based on our agriculture. Our farmers are basically entrepreneurs, he said. They should have easy access to finance so that can grow and add value to their crops. He also said that value addition and use of technology will make our agro-products more competitive in the world market.
General Manager of SME SPD of Bangladesh Bank Swapan Kumar Roy said that Bangladesh Bank has a special re-financing fund for agriculture sector. At a rate of 5% interest Bangladesh Bank gives the fund to scheduled Banks to disburse it at a rate of 10%. But women entrepreneurs will get the loan at 9% interest rate.
Former Vice President of DCCI Md. Shoaib Chowdhury said land loss, natural calamities are some of the challenges for our agriculture sector. Every year Bangladesh loose 1% per cent of its arable land.