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Workshop held on agricultural microfinance in Jordan

By JT - Oct 17,2019 - Last updated at Oct 17,2019

AMMAN — Partners for Good (PfG), a Jordanian non-profit organisation which aims to support communities to achieve a future where people can live a decent and prosperous life, organised a workshop titled “Agricultural Microfinance in Jordan: Challenges and Solutions” on October 17.

The event, held in cooperation with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Amman, was attended by Deputy Head of Mission Marc Hasselaar, , according to a joint statement.

The workshop was held in the wake of several focused discussion sessions that PfG convened in September in Jordan's main agricultural areas.

The discussions aimed at understanding and learning first-hand about the funding challenges facing Jordanian and Syrian farmers and representatives of financial institutions in a bid to draw up a clear, corrective plan.

Jordanian and Syrian farmers took part in the workshop, alongside representatives of financial institutions, government agencies and non-profit organisations. Participants highlighted a number of key financing challenges that small farmers face and proposed solutions to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the microfinance ecosystem, the statement said.

A number of farmers pointed out that access to finance remains a primary challenge given long waiting periods, high interest rates, lack of guarantees and funding institutions’ failure to introduce flexible repayment schemes, according to the statement. 

Participants also cited limited technical, administrative and financial capacity as another major hindrance to the development sought after by small farmers. Other drawbacks raised by participants included financial institutions' poor expertise in conducting feasibility studies and post-finance follow-up, in addition to the lack of access to insurance services for farmers.

In conclusion of the workshop, a range of solutions were put forward, including the digitisation of lending procedures, the creation of an electronic one-stop-shop and the incorporation of a farmer-owned public financing company to provide financing at reduced interest rates. 

Walid Tarawneh, CEO of Partners for Good, said in the statement: “Agriculture is a mainstay of the economy and a major employer. We believe in the vital role that small farmers can play in propelling economic growth. We, therefore, seek to help them to leverage their full potential and find solutions to the challenges they face, especially opening up access to finance to enable them to develop their projects."

“The Netherlands embassy in Jordan is aware of the economic growth and employment potential of the agricultural sector in Jordan, and we have therefore dedicated significant resources to support the sector,” Hasselaar was quoted as saying at the workshop. 

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