A large proportion of the Dominican Republic’s rural population is vulnerable and at the same time, geographically and economically marginalized. On one hand, they lack access to basic services such as water, health and education. On the other, their livelihoods are constantly exposed to different risks like climate change effects or market prices. These factors make the future seem hazy for rural inhabitants, as they have no access to opportunities for progress.
To overcome this situation, Banco ADOPEM, part of the BBVA Microfinance Group from the Dominican Republic, has developed the Agro-Crédito ADOPEM program. The loans that are comprised in this initiative seek to benefit small agribusiness farmers and producers. It also hopes to reach rural youth and women by using technological innovation.
In many cases, applying for such a loan makes up for a farmer’s first interaction with the formal financial system. Thus, he or she is released from the necessity to acquire informal and costly credits, and at the same time is given access to rural financial education. This type of support improves not only the farmer’s understanding of their enterprise, it also increases self-esteem, both of which translate to bettering their businesses and income growth.
Mercedes Canalda de Beras-Goico, executive president of Banco Adopem, was interviewed by the Microfinance Gateway (CGAP) about the subject. The Foundation’s Dominican microfinance institution was recently awarded for this initiative at the IADB’s Inter-American Awards for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation, under the category Financial Services to Small Farmers. See the highlights of the interview: