On 17th November a glorious event, the National Exhibition and Economic Conference shed cultural boundaries and featured hundreds of booths organized and staffed by local, national and international companies and entrepreneurs.
Many notables attended, including Governor of Kandahar, Dr. Homayoon Azizi, deputy Governor Mr. Shamsullah Shamsi, consolers of Pakistan, India and Iran, AISA, ACCI, Kandahar Industrialists Union, Afghan People Union (APU) and some high officials.
ADF Kandahar Regional Team also attended the exhibition and delivered its presentation to the participants such as university professors, industrialists, farmers, women business communities and a large number of local traders. The target clientele of the ADF includes small commercial farmers as well as agribusinesses engaged in distribution of agricultural inputs, producers of high-value crops, processors and exporters of agricultural products.
“ADF functions as a wholesale lender, channeling credit through ¬financial and non-¬financial institutions. Agricultural credit provided by the ADF is enabling farmers and other players in the agriculture sector to put in practice modern production, processing and market development practices acquired in the last decade.” Said Mirwais Azizi ADF regional lending officer.
More than 300 agribusinesses contributed to make the National Exhibition and Economic Conference a successful event.
The aim of the exhibition was to familiarize Kandahar businesses with the value of exhibitions in agriculture sector and other domestic agricultural products and businesses in Afghanistan. To familiarize farmers and other value chain actors with modern technology used in production and processing of Agri-inputs, programs and projects working for facilitation and development of agriculture in Afghanistan including loans and technical support providers. And to familiarize investors with agribusiness to invest in the agriculture and enhance the domestic production.
Sayed Ahmad Khushakyar and Brothers Ltd, Rahmat Nazar Ltd and Kamil Farid Group were the clients sponsored by ACE-II/ADF to participate in the exhibition and showcase their products.
As the first independent lending institution in Afghanistan the ADF was established to build and pioneer Agri-lending throughout the country. The microfinance is increasingly being considered as one of the most effective tools of reducing poverty. Recently ADF provided millions of dollar for intermediaries such as FMFB, ARFC and other Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) to provide financial support and services to reach out more Agri-businesses and needy people of the county.
The First Micro-Finance Bank (FMFB). FMFB-A is affiliated with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) - a group of 11 development agencies working in health, education, culture and rural and economic development, primarily in Asia and Africa. It is the largest microfinance institution in Afghanistan having more than 52,000 active customers and has a footprint of 38 branches and nine Loan Processing Centers covering 14 provinces. As of March 2015, FMFB offers agriculture loans in about 80 districts in 12 provinces. The bank has over 19,000 active agriculture and livestock borrowers. Agriculture and livestock loans comprise 37 percent of FMFB's overall portfolio in terms of outstanding value, and number of active borrowers. FMFB-A applied for an ADF loan which will be utilized in the agriculture sector.
Afghan Rural Finance Company (ARFC) is to encourage investment in the rural and urban economy of Afghanistan, and to support economic and social development by serving men and women owned business and the credit needs of small and medium enterprises (Trade, Services, Manufacturing, Mining, Production and Agriculture) in the rural and urban areas where they reside and conduct business all over Afghanistan.
To date ADF has provided over US$19 million to 32 intermediaries that ultimately on-lent to over 17,000 farmer beneficiaries in 32 provinces of Afghanistan.
Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan attended the 15th international exhibition of agricultural products and celebration of the international day of Rural Women that was initiated by Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock.
The President said that “strengthening the role of the women involved in farming constitutes one of the major goals of the government. Afghan women play a significant role in production; however, they do not receive the cash benefits that is why it is vital for us to link women with the value chain grid.”
President Ghani called saffron a good alternative for poppy and added that China is ready to buy the country’s annual product of saffron. The President said that much has been done in the agriculture sector this year.
The first International Day of Rural Women was observed on 15 October 2008. Recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.”
Rural women, the majority of whom depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods. Rural women represent approximately 43 percent of the agricultural labor force, and produce, process and prepare much of the food available.
Agricultural Credit leads to more than just economic growth; it promotes equality by providing opportunities to women entrepreneurs.
ADF has provided credit to eight organizations and commercial scale enterprises to date, that ultimately benefited over 200 individual and 1000 rural women.
The ADF provides farmers with access to finance, and technical assistance in corps production and particularly facilitating sales to high value markets. This allows the ADF to reduce credit risk while helping its clients’ success in their enterprises.
ADF has financed more than 150 cooperatives in Bamyan province for the last four years for potato cultivation. These loans were made to them for purchase of potato seed and fertilizers to improve the production.
During the visits most of the Cooperative have explained that they are very happy with their crop so far and believe that their production is increased by 20-30% through the ADF loans, because these farmers (member of Coops) had never been able to afford these inputs before.
The team consisted from ADF Technical Services Unit/Lending Team, Bamyan Loan officers and a representative from Provincial DAIL Department Mr. Haji Haqjoy (the head of Cooperative Department) visited the stock of fertilizer before and/or during the distribution process in order to verify the quality of the purchased fertilizer (DAP and Urea) in different locations of central Bamyan.
This year in total 28 Potato cooperatives (19 in center and 9 in Waras districts) received 5,114 bags of DAP & 10,350 bags of Urea fertilizers under the ADF approved loan for 2015 Potato growing season.
To date ADF has approved over US$106 million in loans. These loans are directly benefiting over 30,000 farmers in 32 provinces.
National Nawroz Celebration, Farmer’s Festival, and AG-FAIR 2015 which was conducted by the Private Sector Development Department (PSD) of the Ministry of Agriculture Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL) on March 2015 at Badam Bagh and provided the opportunities for Afghan producers, processors, traders and exporters to exhibit their products and find the suitable clients and/or customers in domestic as well as in the international markets.
The purpose of the exhibition was to familiarize people with domestic agriproducts produced in Afghanistan and in addition, farmers and other value chain actors with programs and projects working for facilitation and development of agriculture in Afghanistan like loans and technical support providers and furthermore, familiarize with modern technology used in production and processing of agriculture products. Familiarize the investors with agribusiness to invest in the agriculture and enhance the domestic production.
Rabia Mariam Handicraft, Aziz Farid Gen & Cotton and Edible Oil Processing, Natural Cooking Spices (Masala) Production, Saeed Ahmad Khushkyar and Brothers Co. LTD, Fine Food Factory, Tanin Herat Industrial Food, Kamel Dairy Production, Uddin Wardak Wool Washing, and Afghan Rice Processing Mill were the ADF clients who participated and exhibited their products in this year Ag-fair.
To date ADF has approved over US$103 million in loans. These loans are directly benefiting over 30,000 farmers in 32 provinces.
Recently the Ministry of Women Affairs of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan together with UNDP conducted a meeting by the name of “First Coordination Session of Ministry of Women Affairs with Micro-Finance Institutions and Banks” for the purpose of identifying lending institutions, banks and projects by public and private sectors in the country.
In this meeting financial entities, governmental and private banks such as: Afghanistan Banks Association, AMA, ADF, RMLSP, MRRD, AIB, Ghazanfar Bank, Azizi Bank, FINCA Afghanistan and OXUSwere invited to present their lending policies and procedures to the participants.
In Afghanistan, lending to women poses fundamental challenges, including: 1) cultural norms typically prevent women from working outside the home; 2) majority of women, especially in rural areas, are illiterate and lack the skills to keep basic accounting records; and 3) generally women do not own assets to pledge as collateral.
To overcome this the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) as a standalone government owned financial institution with the fundamental purpose of making credit available to the agriculture sector especially for rural women has played a significant role in women economic empowerment by providing loans and grants for them.
Fatimatul Zahra, a Sharia compliant financial product line catering specifically to female farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs who operate medium-scale enterprises individually or in groups is the successful example.
To date the ADF has approved loans for US$1.6 million to eight female organizations, over 200 individual female SME clients and 1000 rural women have had access to financial services throughout Afghanistan.
After the successful completion of the Agricultural Credit Enhancement (ACE) program, which established and managed the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) since 2010, until its transition to the Afghan government in 2014, USAID launched the ACE II program on June 23.
The goal of ACE-II, is to expand access to agriculture-related credit as a necessary condition for a thriving agricultural economy, which will increase agriculture sector jobs and increase commercial viability of small and medium farms and agribusinesses. ACE-II will focus on three objectives:
The ADF is a fully registered and functional financial institution, with over 100 employees, a center office in Kabul and five regional offices in Jalalabad, Bamyan, Mazar-e-Sharif, Herat, and Kandahar. The institution is governed by a (High Council), managed by executive board and led by a Chief Executive Officer. The ADF has approved loans for over US$110 million directly benefiting over 32,000 farmers in 32 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces.
The Silk Road was not a single "road", but rather a network of trade routes that linked cities, trading posts, hostels and caravan-watering places. It was most active from about 300 BC to 200 AD and extended between the Eastern Roman frontier in the Middle East to the Chinese frontier, with other paths going north through Afghanistan from the Indian Ocean to the Siberian Steppe.
And now, Rabia Mariam Handicraft Company steps in Silk Road again. Rabia Mariam Company started in 1998 as a small scale home based business in Mazar-i-Sharif and after receiving ADF grant expanded to a first Silk production plant in Afghanistan and mechanized the production from hand looms to silk weaving and spinning machines.
This company was working on different type of handicrafts but later on focused just on two sectors which are wool and silk. The company expanded its production and market place and the activities developed to other provinces like Faryab, Jawzjan, Samangan and Sarepul and have a network of 2000 women sericulture farmers.
This company buys the silk cocoons from these women groups in different provinces which has created an enormous value chain network in north. Each kg of silkworm egg after producing silkworm will produce about 20 kg of silk cocoons. The silk cocoon production expected from 1000 women is 20,000 kg, while the handicraft company planned to purchase 19,000 kg of cocoons.
To date ADF has approved over US$ 103 million in loans. These loans are directly benefiting over 30,000 farmers in 34 provinces.
The principles that form the basis of Islamic finance have been in force for a long time and are embedded within Sharia. The Afghanistan Agricultural Credit Enhancement (ACE) Program, via the Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) facilitates financing of agriculture in Afghanistan both on a traditional and Sharia compliant basis.
Similar to the conditions for traditional financing, ACE/ADF’s Sharia compliant lending activities are complemented with technical assistance to strategic value chains. The first step towards the strengthening of strategic value chains is the identification of those with the highest probability of success, based on three fundamental criteria: a) Economic feasibility, b) market potential, and c) scalability and therefore likelihood to promote aggregate economic growth. It is anticipated that a significant proportion of the portfolio will eventually consist of Islamic financial lending.
Sharia compliant financing finds its roots in the teachings of the Quran and the Sunnah and is further enhanced by the secondary sources of Sharia as outlined in section 1. All financial transactions that are executed on this basis, need to meet all the requirements regarding the underlying asset, the avoidance of riba, gharar, and maysir as well as the conditions of contract.
The Sharia Advisory Board (SAB) is an independent body consisting of 3 scholars (chairman and 2 members). They are instrumental in ensuring that the Islamic financial instruments offered by the ACE/ADF are in line with Sharia as applied in Afghanistan. The SAB reports to the ADF Board of Directors (BoD).
The SAB liaises with ADF through ADF’s internal Sharia expert, who is the first point of contact for ADF staff for anything associated with Sharia compliance. If required, the internal Sharia expert will involve the SAB. Three main areas of involvement are identified for the SAB; advisory, approval, and audit.
To date the ADF has approved US$105 million; more than 50% of portfolio is Islamic Finance.
December 12-13, 2015 was an auspicious time in which ADF conducted a-two-day strategic planning meeting. All ADF departments such as Lending, Operation, Technical, Credit and Risk Management, Monitoring and Evaluation, Internal Audit, Regional Office as well as ACE-II staff gathered in ADF Main Office to take part in this momentous occasion. The main goal of the meeting was to appreciate last year’s achievements and discuss constraints and challenges as well as to set new goals for year 2016 to enhance ADF activities on the ground.
At the outset of the meeting Joel Carter (CEO of ADF) spotlighted on 2015 achievements, accomplishments, problems faced, and also the role of ACE-II in 2016 which of course will be technical support to ADF. Afterward, Khalid Sarwary (Director of Credit and Risk Management) delivered a presentation on the new goals and objectives of ADF.
Lending team as the backbone and integral part of ADF which handles loan processing, loan agreement, marketing and customer care also presented their plan focusing on the regional targets, increasing the number of beneficiaries, and reaching out more agribusinesses.
As a government owned entity, Agricultural Development Fund (ADF) provided thousands of farmers, agribusinesses and non-financial intermediaries with Islamic and conventional loans to benefit more ag-value chain.
Given the achievements, ADF has become as a center of innovation in Islamic finance, and only the second financial institution in the country with a Sharia Advisory Board including a representative from the Ministry of Hajj. The board certifies the compliance of financial products with Sharia principles. The ADF currently has six different Islamic financial products that cater to the needs of input suppliers, farmers, traders, and agro processors.
The ADF targets, set in the strategic planning session, have been projected AFN 2,040,000,000 (US$30 Million) to be disbursed to agribusinesses and financial intermediaries that will ultimately on-lend to over 10,000 farmers all over Afghanistan.
In Kabul several ACE/ADF underwent a training on MicroBanking System that was provided by MicroBanker Nepal Pvt.
The MicroBanking System (MBWin) is banking software designed and developed for a wide range of banks and financial intermediaries. Because of its multi-tier architecture, the system is highly scalable and can, therefore, cater to a wide range of users and be adapted to a variety of hardware configurations. It is modular in terms of applications and functionality.
MBWin has modules for current accounts, savings accounts, time deposits, share accounts and loan accounts that interface with the general ledger module (GL) and the contact information module (CIF).
The centralized CIF module maintains comprehensive information on corporate and individual customers, guarantors and signatories, and it has additional features for specialized microfinance operators that deploy group methodologies.
MBWin offers a classic user-friendly menu structure as well as a set of speed buttons for quick access to the most common functions. The built-in reports will meet the basic internal and external reporting requirements of most financial organizations. The built-in report generator allows users to custom-build reports to meet user-specific requirements. The MBWin is a complete package it includes a number of utilities to help with the:
• Migration of data
• Translation of the system into new languages.
• Conversion from manual operations
• Security Access, Data Security and Control Features
Its’ built-in security and control features which make it highly suitable for use on stand-alone or networked MS DOS-based micro computers in remote rural areas and in small offices where supervisor control is minimal.
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
This is the time to uphold women’s achievements, recognize challenges, and focus greater attention on women’s rights and gender equality to mobilize all people to do their part, and envisions a world where each woman and girl can exercise her choices, such as participating in politics, getting an education, having an income, and living in societies free from violence and discrimination.
Like many other institutions ADF also celebrated International Women’s Day, a historical day which changed the role of women both in national and international levels.
Back in 2012, ADF’s High Council (the strategic decision making body) have stressed the need for the ADF to find ways to provide women with credit for agriculture-related activities.
With the purpose of overcoming this challenge and enabling women to participate in the development of Afghan agriculture the ADF launched a line of financial products aimed at addressing the needs of rural women Zahra, a Sharia compliant financial product.
Agricultural Credit leads to more than just economic growth; it promotes equality by providing opportunities to women entrepreneurs.
For the first time, eight organizations and commercial scale enterprises, over 200 individual and 1000 rural women have had access to financial services throughout Afghanistan.