Business Times; April 5
BANK Pertanian Malaysia (BPM) plans to launch, by June, several new products
and services for the farming community, especially those involved in the projects
under the East Coast Economic Region (ECER).
“We have always supported the development of agriculture- and agro-based
industries by providing financing to the entire value chain of this sector. Several
new loan products and services are in the pipeline and are expected to be
launched in the second quarter of this year to cater to the growing needs of the
farming community,” BPM general manager Martini Osman said in a statement.
She said to further complement these initiatives and make an easy access to
credit, BPM is also reviewing its lending policies and delivery system, and
upgrading its ICT system.
The main problem for agri-preneurs is the lack of financing because it is tied to
collateral, but according to Martini the creditworthiness and repayment capacity
of any proposed project, not the availability of collateral, are the key
considerations in approving loan applications.
“The review process of our lending policies will include relaxing collateral
requirements, especially for facilities extended to small and medium enterprises
(SMEs),” she noted.
Martini said the bank, under a new corporate entity, will be able to broaden its
scope of financing, introduce new loan products and repackage existing facilities
to suit the financing requirements of agriculture developments in the ECER
states of Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu and part of Johor (in Mersing).
BPM, she said, is committed to developing agripreneurs in terms of skills,
technical knowledge and management capability.
Since 2006, a total of 4,297 new entrepreneurs in various agriculture sectors
have been developed.
“BPM has set a target of developing 10,000 new bumiputera entrepreneurs under
the Ninth Malaysia Plan and based on the present performance, we are confident
of achieving this target in 2010,” she added.The bank organised a total 24 seminars, workshops and entrepreneurship clinics
in 2007 with 4,552 participants.
In addition, 49 training and entrepreneurship courses in various fields, including
accountancy, good agricultural practices and entrepreneurship, were given to
2,150 new entrepreneurs.
BPM has also produced an Entrepreneur Directory containing information on 50
entrepreneurs to facilitate business matching opportunities. Advisory services on
technical and marketing are also provided.
Martini pointed out that under the new corporate entity, BPM will be in a better
position to facilitate commercialisation of research and development and possibly
engage in venture capital.