New loan facility for cane growers

FDB chief executive Saud Minam with the AG Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and FDB board chair Andre Viljoen during the launch of the FDB Sugarcane Farmers Special Loan Facility in Lautoka. Picture: SITERI SAUVAKACOLO

New and existing cane growers now have an opportunity to take advantage of affordable borrowing with the recent launch of the Fiji Development Bank’s Sugarcane Farmers Special Loan Facility.

The launch was facilitated by the Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Drasa, Lautoka on Monday.

Growers were told that government would pay 6 per cent of the interest rate to the bank and the grower would pay only 3. 99 per cent instead of the usual 9.99 per cent.

FDB board chair Andre Viljoen said timely and easy access to financing would allow growers to boost cane production.

“It is the crushing season and you all must have been busy and tired cutting cane and loading the trucks,” Mr Viljoen informed about 50 growers.

“It is commendable how the FDB has stepped up to fill the gaps in the credit supply, developing loan facilities with the focus to provide easy access to finance.

“I would like to assure you all that the FDB will keep up this momentum of striving towards building a robust financial sector in Fiji that caters for the financial needs of every sector.”

The board chair said it was heartening to witness the FDB living up to its objective of improving the socio-economic status of people by developing financial solutions that would benefit every Fijian.

In the last nine months, Mr Viljoen noted that the bank launched three new financing solutions targeting three different sectors of the economy and the most recent one would help cushion a very crucial sector of the local economy.

FDB chief executive Saud Minam said growers could start applying online on October 10 and the payment would be made directly to the growers’ bank account and also via the M-Paisa and MyCash apps.

“There is a very simple process going on our website, we’ve got an application form, you can go through it and there are details in terms of step by step actions and in case you get stuck, you can always call us or send us an email and we will get back to you,” Mr Minam said.

“Our staff will be reaching out to you and letting you know that this is your pre-approval limit of $10, 000- $20, 000, whatever the approval limit you have and if its required by you and you want to avail the facility without any further signing of the documentation.

“The only thing which is required is a new letter of offer; that’s all and you can have the fund available in your account.”

The loan is categorised in six categories:

: Existing FDB customers where the grower can access a top-up loan through a pre-approved credit limit within loan eligibility.

: Existing or established growers where financing is available for up to $10, 000 for those with lease and production over 150 tonnes.

: For new growers where financing is available for up to $12, 000 for farm development including maintenance cost.

: For existing or established growers where financing is available for up to $10, 000 for improvements including those diversifying into cash crop farming in addition to sugar cane.

: For existing or established growers where financing is available for land purchase and land development cost within loan eligibility.

: For existing or established growers where financing is available for al loan purposes within loan eligibility.

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