An innovative credit program for small shrimp farmers was launched in Khulna by Minister for Fisheries and Livestock Mr. Narayon Chandra Chanda, M.P.
Under this innovative approach, the small shrimp farmers joining in a cluster would be supported by low interest and collateral free institutional credit based on their projected investment cost for pond preparation, purchase and utilization of healthy seeds and other inputs including bio-security compliance.
The small farmers joining the clusters are being linked up with financial institutions on the basis of a viable business plan. Bangladesh Commerce Bank (BCBL) has come forward to support the Dumuria cluster farming pilot project and the project is being partnered by selected cluster farmers, Department of Fisheries, BSFF, MKA Hatchery and BCBL.
Speaking on the occasion, the Hon’ble Minister appreciated that Bangladesh Commerce Bank has come forward to support this innovative approach for the support of the small shrimp farmers and expressed hope that this model would be a successful one and would inspire other small farmers to develop cluster system and motivate Banks and other financial institutions to support this kind of initiative.
Secretary, MOFL Raisul Alam Mondal thanked DOF, BSFF, MKA Hatchery and Bangladesh Commerce Bank for taking the initiative and said that cluster is a viable solution for small farmers credit needs and other support services for the shrimp sector. Director General, DOF Goljar Hossain assured all support of his Department to this initiative. Chairman, BCBL Engineer Dr. Rashid Ahmed Chowdhury said that his Bank is pleased to be a part of this innovative initiative of BSFF and assured that if needed, his Bank will come forward for bigger schemes. Chairman BSFF Syed Mahmudul Huq recognized that all the partners involved in this initiative have worked with sincere commitment to support the small shrimp farmers that contribute to the development of this innovative approach. He also highlighted that BSFF has been working with Bangladesh Bank to earmark a certain percentage of agricultural credit for the shrimp sector as well as exploring the possibility of credit guarantee scheme for shrimp sector.
Chaired by Ms. Shahnaz Begum, Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Dumuria, the briefing was also attended, amongst others, by senior officials from DOF, local shrimp farmers, BFFEA officials, representatives from MKA Hatchery Ltd. and local elites.