The state-run Agricultural and Rural Development Bank (ARDB) has called for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to expand their agriculture-based processing productions and apply for low-interest rate emergency loans.
The call was made after the bank received only five loan applications from SMEs in the agricultural processing sector.
Kao Thach, director-general of the ARD, said this week that since the $50 million emergency fund was approved by the government very fewagricultural processing businesses have applied for a loan.
“We have received at least five applications from SMEs since the emergency loan was announced.
“We are now processing the applications with the total amount of loans requested amounting to $1 million. With the businesses based around Phnom Penh.” The government launched the $50 million special fund for SMEs to boost competitiveness, productivity and daily business operations amid the impact of the pandemic Covid-19 and a 20 percent withdrawal of zero tariffs under the EU’s Everything but Arms (EBA) trade deal earlier in the year.
The fund is designed to specifically focus on agri-processing, food processing, agri-business, crops including vegetables, livestock and the aquatic business plus any enterprise that uses raw materials from agriculture.
Thach said, the bank is planning to promote the emergency fund to provinces where SME insiders based in each province can meet directly and ask the bank directly for the terms and conditions of the loan.
“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s difficult for SMEs to seek opportunities for loans at your everyday banks, so we plan to travel to each province to meet with them [the business owners] so we can talk and encourage them directly to apply for the loan,” Thach said.
Srun Pov, president of the Cambodia Livestock Raisers Association, said that livestock farmers are seeking financial support such as
low interest rate loans from commercial banks and microfinancial institutions to expand their production.
“With the $50 million loan at the Agricultural and Rural Development Bank, the association and members are going to apply for the loan to expand their productions because the livestock sector needs to increase supply to fulfill domestic demand,” Pov said.