District Coordinator for Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholder Enterprises Programme (FARMSE), Jessie Njikho says the programme has partnered with FDH Bank to boost access to financial services in rural areas.
Njikho made the remarks Wednesday in Likoma during a sensitisation meeting with District Executive Committee (DEC) members aimed at introducing new FARMSE implementing partners for the District.
“We have brought in FDH as one of our new partners. At first we had Opportunity International only and the partnership phased out, however, it will resume with the aim of increasing access to financial services in rural areas and reducing poverty,” said Njikho, adding that the organisation’s main focus is smallholder farmers.
She said the FARMSE is using village savings and loans (VSL) groups as entry points into communities and is linking them to financial institutions so that community members can have access to loans and expand their businesses.
FDH Agency Banking Manager for the North, Lester Mwenechanya said the bank intends to strengthen its agent base in Likoma to ensure that a large population in the district have bank accounts.
“Through partnership with government and FARMSE project, we have brought in additional personnel to Likoma to specifically target the VSLs to open bank accounts and provide soft loans to them,” Mwenechanya said.
FARMSE is a Malawi Government programme that is being funded by International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) a United Nations subsidiary.