DFCC Bank, the premier commercial bank in Sri Lanka, has been at the forefront of enhancing the development of the nation’s dairy sector through innovative microfinancing solutions from specialised Value Chain Financing schemes. The Bank has pioneered lending to further the progress of the dairy industry, allowing farmers in one of Sri Lanka’s key economic sectors to better their livelihoods amidst a strained economy and increasingly difficult financial conditions.
The objective of such initiatives is to address a significant difficulty faced by many small-scale farmers – the lack of access to adequate long-term financing opportunities. This stands to enhance the development of the dairy sector by empowering the entire value chain, securing long-term growth and stability of the industry.
Among the many avenues in which DFCC Bank has provided financial and technical support to farmers, a key example is the partnership with Market Oriented Dairy (MOD), funded by the US Department of Agriculture’s ‘Food for Progress’ program. The initiative consisted of the provision of customised lending facilities for dairy farmers and was implemented by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC), who managed the technical support provision to both the dairy farmers, and all staff directly involved in dairy sector-focused lending activities.
Another prime example is a project that involved granting developmental loans to MSMEs within the farmer communities, strengthening their potential to earn, while securing and improving their livelihoods. Implemented in partnership with Chello Dairy Products Ltd., Chello involves the transfer of farmer loan payments directly to a DFCC Bank account in return of the farmers’ supply of milk.
DFCC in turn ensures access to readily-available financial support enabling them to have a stronger platform for carrying out dairy-farming activities. DFCC Bank has further provided specialised loan conditions to ensure higher accessibility and applicability, including satisfactory pre-agreed risk ratings and reduced processing fees, giving the current difficult socio-economic conditions.
The project also focuses on inculcating the habit of saving across the farmer community, through a special cash build-up scheme involving the transfer of a small sum to farmer’s accounts, together with the loan instalment directly from the promoter company.
Commenting on this initiative, Chief Executive Officer Lakshman Silva stated, “We at DFCC place great importance on supporting the growth of the dairy industry, specifically through the empowerment of small dairy farmers who play a significant role in driving it forward. One of the core values of our premier banking is providing robust value propositions, and our many innovative financing solutions, from Value Chan Financing Schemes to partnerships on technical and financial support, showcase our consistent support and the firm priority we’ve assigned to ensuring the prosperity of the sector.”
Through the plethora of innovative financing activities, DFCC Bank has supported over 1,000 (includes loans granted outside this project) dairy farmers with financing support and has provided technical training to a further 300. The Bank is also currently working on two major initiatives, both currently development – showcasing its commitment to continuously drive growth in and develop the dairy industry in Sri Lanka.