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Haiti - Agriculture : The agricultural credit always too expensive
08/10/2010 09:29:18

Haiti - Agriculture : The agricultural credit always too expensive
In 1963, the Haitian State has established an Office of Credit Agricole (Bureau de Crédit Agricole BCA) specializes in financing small and medium-sized farms. The financing system adopted in 1991 builds on the services of financial intermediaries such as cooperatives and agricultural associations. But because of the high risks of farming and low repayments, these institutions have reoriented refinancing the loan to the commercial sector. The share of agricultural sector represented only 20% of loans and interest rates could reach 60%.

Currently loans are granted against the BCA of a cash collateral deposit of 30% of the amount requested. The loan amount can vary between 27.000 gourds (1) and 10 million gourds. The loan period lasts 12 to 18 months with an interest rate of 1.5% per month. The funds allocated by the State in the BCA in 2007/08 amounted to 36 million gourds. This level of funding, equivalent to approximately 35% of the investment budget of the BCA, only meets 10% of national demand.

Moreover, the dispersal of farmers, the isolation of some areas and lack of management staff do not facilitate producers' access to agricultural credit and increase at the same time the cost of the loan. Also, the lack of diversification and the rigidity of the eligibility and repayment of the loan are not adapted to the Haitian context dominated by small farmers. This situation has led some producers to move towards micro-finance institutions or private individuals who provide loans with payments to some facilities (nature), but often at usurious rates (40% for a period of 6 months).

Faced with these difficulties and lack of State funding, the Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development established in 2006 a national commission to propose new guidelines to ensure better accessibility Farm Credit. The Committee recommended, inter alia, the creation of a new banking institution responsible for agricultural credit and related to the Bank of the Republic of Haiti. Symposium held in January 2009, has defined a credit program will provide interim financing for the entire food chain including rural crafts. The loans are now awarded to individual producers but also to middlemen operating in the micro-finance in rural areas.

(1) 1 USD = 40 gourds.

HL/ HaitiLibre / FAO / WFP / 21/09/2010

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