Business Partnership Summary: Expanding women-run dairy enterprises through financial services
A Business Partnerships Platform partnership with the Australian Government, the Bangladesh SME Corporation Limited (BSCL) and Oxfam supported dairy farmers, mostly women, to access finance to increase the productivity of their operations. The partnership resulted in an increase in income benefiting farmers, their families and communities. This Partnership Summary provides an insight into how the partners worked together, the complex challenges they faced and what they achieved.
Key contributions from partners
BSCL provided the critical access to finance, Oxfam prepared dairy farmers to receive the loans through financial literacy training and the Australian Government contributed catalytic funding and a connection to networks in-country. For BSCL the partnership helped it to reach a new market segment and demonstrate the commercial sustainability of offering loans to smallholder farmers.
The two year partnership resulted in BSCL facilitating more than AUD 580,000 in financing to dairy enterprises. The dairy enterprises used the financing to buy high quality crossbreed cows, in turn providing farmers with more assets against which to borrow. Improvements in productivity resulted in higher income. Women also reported close to 3 fewer hours of care work per week.
During the partnership BSCL found that many female-led dairy enterprises faced lots of challenges beyond financing that affected their business’ productivity. Women were often forced to travel to meet doctors and specialists, costing them in both time away from their business and travel expenses. BSCL responded by launching a tele-doctor program. The program saw over 2,000 patients in its first six months.
BSCL continues to innovate their finance platform, including digitalising extension services and promoting complementary financial products, such as livestock insurance while Oxfam is continuing to nurture dairy enterprises with access to government COVID recovery packages and knowledge about adding value to dairy products in preparation for the recovery from COVID.
Learn more about the achievements and next steps for this #inclusivebusiness partnership.