In Bangladesh, a BPP partnership with the Bangladesh SME Corporation Limited (BSCL), Oxfam and the Australian Government 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 and demonstrated the commercial sustainability loans to smallholder farmers. This Partnership Summary provides an insight into how the partners worked together, the complex challenges they faced and what they achieved.
About the initiative
Banks often perceive loans to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), such as smallholder dairy farming businesses, as risky and do not offer products to this market segment.
This partnership reduced the investment and risk for BSCL to reach a new market segment and demonstrate the commercial sustainability of offering loans to smallholder farmers. 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.
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.
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