JIS News

Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has called on the People’s Co-operative Banks to devise new and easier ways to assess farmers for agricultural loans.
The Minster, who was addressing the Annual General Meeting of the National People’s Co-operative Bank held recently at the Kendal Conference Centre in Manchester, said that the small farmer, in seeking capital, must be evaluated by means other than the owning of property.
“If you are waiting on the small farmer to have a house or land title before you lend him, you won’t lend any money because he does not have it,” he stated, noting that the bank, would then have failed in its mandate as a community-based institution.
Pointing to the need to “re-calibrate how we approach risk in lending resources to those farmers,” Dr. Tufton said that best practices could be established and the farmers held to those practices in their respective areas of production. “Then use this as an assessment or monitoring system that will allow us to take a chance with that farmer,” he suggested.
The Minister urged the PC Banks to work with other partners so that the best service could be provided to the primary client, the small farmer.
President of the National People’s Co-operative Bank, Howard Paulwell, in the meantime, said that the institution would be undertaking a number of reforms, aimed at improving service to clients and increasing profitability.
These, he said, included a “revision and formalization of our membership list, modernizing our offices to make them safer, comfortable and better equipped, and diversifying our products and services to support the needs of our members.” He noted that alliances would be forged to advance service delivery and the institution would also be disposing of non-earning assets.