SUNBIZ

4.99% Interest Rate On Loans Between $5K-$250K

The bank and Fiji Rice signed a memorandum of understanding in the presence of President of Fiji, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere. Ratu Wiliame, who was part of the journey of the industry, said agriculture should not be considered as a last resort for a profession. He hailed the efforts directed at improving the rice farming industry, as an effort to decrease the import bill.
25 Nov 2021 10:30
4.99% Interest Rate On Loans Between $5K-$250K
From left: Fiji Rice chairman Raj Sharma, acting permanent secretary for Agriculture Vinesh Kumar, President of Fiji Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, Fiji Development Bank chief executive officer, Saud Minam, and general manager finance and administration, Saiyad Hussain, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Fiji Rice and Fiji Development Bank, in Suva, on November 24, 2021. Photo: Frederica Elbourne

Fiji Development Bank yesterday announced interest rates of 4.99 per cent for farming loans between $5000 and $250,000.

Chief executive officer, Saud Minam, made the revelation during the launch of the bank’s new financial solutions for rice farmers.

“Anything above that will require some commercial feasibility, and in that, given the risk and reward, the interest rate may change,” Mr Minam said.

“Right now, we aim to cater to a market that is looking for some funding; expensive funding to revive business under agriculture farms.”

 

President of Fiji
The bank and Fiji Rice signed a memorandum of understanding in the presence of President of Fiji, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere.

Ratu Wiliame, who was part of the journey of the industry, said agriculture should not be considered as a last resort for a profession.

He hailed the efforts directed at improving the rice farming industry, as an effort to decrease the import bill.

 

Money saved from the rice import bill could be redirected to other useful projects, he said.

 

December 1
The financial scheme rolls out from December 1, 2021.

Mr Minam said the new financial solutions were geared toward food security measures.

“We’ll design the packages so we can monitor it,” he said.

 

Mr Minam encouraged the use of Fiji Rice products for its organic quality and the fact it was home grown.

The bank would work with the Ministry of Agriculture over the use of drones to monitor rice farms, he said.

 

COVID-19 recovery loan scheme
As of Tuesday this week, the bank disbursed $60 million in loans to 70 per cent of applicants of the COVID-19 recovery scheme.

Mr Minam said 14,500 applications were received, 100 of which were on paper.

“The digital application process helped shorten the processing period,” he said.

 

“Fiji Development Bank has done what no one else has done.”

He said there was no ceiling on loan scheme because the bank did not anticipate droves of applicants to apply for $250,000 packages a day.

“We’re still in the early stages,” Mr Minam said.

 

Fiji Rice
Fiji Rice chairman Raj Sharma hailed Fiji Development Bank’s loan scheme as a great means of building a network among farmers.

He said the new financial solution would aid self sufficiency among farmers.

Fiji Rice went from working three days a week, at a time when it struggled to pay its employees, to working until 10pm over seven day weeks, Mr Raj said.

 

“At one time, we were struggling to pay our people; now we’re debt- free,” he said.

Fiji produces 16 per cent of locally consumed rice, he said.

The new financial solutions scheme offered by Fiji Development Bank is expected to boost rice farming activities to greater levels of production, Mr Sharma said.

 

Rice farming takes 120 days and is harvested twice a year, he said.

“It’s difficult to finance rice farming,” Mr Sharma said.

 

Feedback: frederica.elbourne@fijisun.com.fj



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