Commercial Bank of Ceylon: ComBank supports traditional rice farmers in Kokkadichcholai

Farmers in Kokkadichcholai, Batticaloa, have received financial and technical support and equipment to facilitate their traditional rice production business, as the latest beneficiaries of Commercial Bank of Ceylon’s Dirishakthi value chain development programme.

The Bank embarked on this exercise to foster financial inclusion among smallholder farmers in this region in partnership with the Women’s Society of Kokkadichcholai. Its ultimate goal is to increase productive capacity in the region and improve rural livelihoods. To support this mandate, the Bank also donated 30 aluminum pans for boiling paddy to selected farmers in the community. The livelihood of this community revolves around the collection of paddy, the preparation of traditional rice and the supply of local markets and individuals in the town of Batticaloa.

The Batticaloa Commercial Bank Branch, the Bank’s Bank on Wheels – Eastern Branch, the corresponding Agriculture and Microfinance Unit (AMFU) of the Bank and the Development Credit Department (DCD) have collaborated in this “Dirichakthi Value Chain Development Program” which ended with a ceremony held in Kokkadichcholai, recently.

After donating the kitchen utensils to the Women’s Society, Commercial Bank officials explained the services offered by the Bank on Wheels operation and the Bank’s products and services available to the community.

Speaking at the ceremony, the President of the Women’s Society, Mrs. P. Sakunthaladevi, said, “Through the Bank on Wheels operation, Commercial Bank provided basic banking services such as opening accounts, cash deposits and withdrawals, micro loans, agricultural leases and other banking services to our farmers at least four days a month.We are grateful to receive these services which have been instrumental in expanding our trade, improving productivity and even improving our way of life.Out of the 80 members of our society, almost 45 have obtained Dirishakthi loans from the branch of the Commercial Bank of Batticaloa.This influx of capital has not only increased the incomes of these families, but has improved the livelihoods and quality of life of our community as a whole.

The Kokkadichcholai Women’s Society soon to be registered as “Padayanadavely Women’s Society” was established in 2019 with the support of the Commercial Bank’s Bank on Wheelsoperation as a small association consisting of 12 member farmers who were committed in cultivation, traditional rice production and animal husbandry.

A similar initiative under the Bank’s Dirishakthi Value Chain Development Program was to provide dairy value chain assistance to the Mullaitivu Livestock Breeders Cooperative Society. This value chain consisting of farmers, milk collectors, producers, product transporters and retailers to the end consumer was supported by banking services and access through Bank on Wheels. Members of this community who had lost their assets, especially livestock, during the conflict were also able to obtain loans to buy livestock and build stables.

The Bank also donated a set of coolers to support a group of dairy farmers in Mulliyawalai. Coolers help preserve product freshness and are essential for the safe transportation of dairy products. As a result of these measures, community members reported an increase in milk production and in their income. They are now able to distribute milk to distant stores, while curd, ghee, milk fudge and yoghurt produced from milk are supplied to wholesale outlets in Kilinochchi and Vavuniya.

The Commercial Bank’s Dirishakthi Value Chain Development Program was launched to support microentrepreneurs with a holistic intervention encompassing financing and empowerment activities that benefit not only individual borrowers but all participants in their value chains. value to drive success and growth from the local level. Its in-kind grants initiative was introduced to support identified value chains to improve their efficiency and sustainability while overcoming challenges faced by rural value chains.

Under this program, the Bank identifies all participants in a value chain with the help of existing clients or community-based organizations (CBOs), provides financial services by reaching out to vulnerable community actors such as women entrepreneurs and low-income people via the coordinators of its Agriculture and Micro Finance Units who approach these members to provide them with personalized support. They identify bottlenecks that impede value chain efficiency and address cash flow and capacity issues, provide remittance facilities to remit sales proceeds and pay suppliers through the formal banking sector, and improve the technical knowledge and entrepreneurial skills of members of the value chain with the objective of improving the quality of the products and services they offer.

The first 100% carbon neutral bank in Sri Lanka, the first Sri Lankan bank to be listed among the world’s top 1000 banks and the only Sri Lankan bank to be listed for 11 consecutive years, Commercial Bank operates a network of 268 branches and 938 machines. machines in Sri Lanka. Commercial Bank is Sri Lanka’s largest SME sector lender and is a leader in digital innovation in the country’s banking industry. The Bank’s overseas operations include Bangladesh, where the Bank operates 19 outlets; Myanmar, where he owns a microfinance company in Nay Pyi Taw; and the Maldives, where the Bank has a fully-fledged Tier I bank with majority ownership.

Photo caption:

Commercial Bank officials inform farmers about the products and services offered by the Bank.

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