The Finanzas Rurales y Ambiente-FRA (Rural and Environmental Finance), implemented by the Dominican institution of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, allows thousands of small local farmers to adapt sustainable measures that improve their productivity and protect the environment. This program, less than two years in operation, is included among the top 10 initiatives under the Sustainable Finance category of the Latinoamérica Verde Awards. This ranking acknowledges programs from Latin America and Spain that highly contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.
FRA offers different types of loans adapted to the farmers’ needs, to improve their resilience and enhance their productivity. Agromujer is an example; it pays special attention to women and considers female farmers’ lack of collateral, which is one of the biggest obstacles for them to access financial services. Aside from loans, the program includes financial education, entrepreneurship courses and technical assistance.
The Latinoamérica Verde Awards, supported by the United Nations Development Program, has especially recognized FRA’s impact in Azua, one of the poorest provinces in the Dominican Republic, where poverty rates run between 60%-70%, according to the Department of Economics, Planning and Development. In this region, the BBVAMF serves almost 24,000 entrepreneurs through its Dominican MFI. They are part of more than 380,000 people supported by the institution nationally, and 67% of them are women, while 41% live in rural areas.
The BBVA Microfinance Foundation, committed to the environment
In addition to the FRA initiative, which in 2017 has been awarded by the IDB with the Inter-american Award for Financial and Entrepreneurial Innovation, the Foundation also fosters other “green finance” programs. In Colombia, through MEbA (Microfinance for Ecosystem-based Adaptation) and together with the United Nations Environmental Program, rural and vulnerable populations’ resilience is strengthened in the face of possible climate change effects. Furthermore, environmentally-responsible projects are advanced and financing of eco-efficient technology is facilitated.