Agricultural credit, SME credit and Micro-lending

Bert has undertaken many projects and studies in agricultural credit, SME credit, and in micro-lending programmes.

Agricultural credit

In Moldova, two separate banking studies were conducted to see how the banking sector could serve the needs of the (post-privatisation) agricultural sector. Some of the proposals formulated led to follow-up projects (For EU, Nov 1995 and FAO Nov / Dec 1997).

In Romania, Bert developed a rural co-operative credit scheme (July and Sept 1996). The programme developed a facility to finance smallholder farms through the existing Romanian credit co-operatives.

In Albania, Bert took part in a mission for development of Dairy Credit Systems (Oct 1997).

In Macedonia, Bert took part in a micro-credit identification mission and developed instruments for small enterprise and farm financing (June 1997).

Bert took part in the tender evaluation for Russia 'Rural Co-operative Credit Strategies and Pilot Demonstrations' (Feb 1999).

In Kazakhstan, Bert advised the Ministry of Agriculture on setting up financing instruments for the agricultural sector, in particular credit guarantees and leasing. This aimed to be an alternative to the (unsustainable) directed lending used before (Nov 1999).

Also in Kazakhstan, Bert worked with private banks to prepare loan requests for a World Bank credit line for agricultural development. Loans were made to private farms (both family farms and large-scale farm enterprises) and agro-processing industries. Training workshops were held for credit officers in Almaty, Astana, Pavlodar, Kustanay, Petropavlovsk, Uralsk, Ust-Kamenogorsk, and Shymkent. (Six missions 2000/01).

In Kyrgyzstan, Bert worked with the Kyrgyzstan Agricultural Finance Corporation to prepare loan requests for an ADB credit line for agricultural development. Training workshops were held for credit officers. (Aug / Sept 2001, Feb / Mar and May / June 2002).

In Montenegro, Bert developed and implemented a leasing scheme for the provision of modern equipment to dairy farmers and dairy processors. (Sept 2001, Jan and April 2002). Two years later, some specific dairy credit proposals were developed for NE Montenegro (Dec 2004).

In the Balkans (Moldova, Kosovo, Albania), Bert conducted and agricultural finance impact study. 660 farmers (borrowers and non-borrowers) were interviewed to determine the impact of agricultural credit  on farmers and rural livelihoods (Sept 2009 - Mar 2010 - published by EFSE). "Development Impact Study - Agricultural Finance" (May 2010)

Bert also conducted a comparative study of Innovations in Agricultural Finance in Cambodia, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania, Thailand and Tunisia (for AFD, Mar - Aug 2011 - published under the series " savoir"). "Creating Access to Agricultural Finance" (July 2012).

An agricultural finance study (10 African countries) was undertaken for Fairtrade Labelling Organisations, resulting in the development of strategy and business plan for Global Producer Finance Unit (FLO-GPFU) (Jan-Dec 2012)

A study for the Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme (GAFSP) (worldwide) aimed to develop strategies to more effectively reach out to smallholder farmers and their producer organisations (Aug - Oct 2014).

SME credit

In Macedonia, two SME banking studies were undertaken. The first was to define the work of 'rural credit advisors', recruited by the World Bank. The second was a general Dutch-financed study as part of a micro-credit identification mission that developed instruments for small enterprise and farm financing (Feb and June 1997).

In Armenia, a study was conducted to see how the banking sector could serve the SME sector, and how the local small business development organisation and the banks could collaborate (May 1996).

In Guinea-Bissau, a general banking sector survey was undertaken in the context of the UNDP private sector development programme (Jan / Feb 1994).

In Kosovo, a bank Training Needs Assessment was performed, aiming to establish a Bank Training Centre (Nov 2003).

In Ethiopia, a study was conducted into access to finance for women entrepreneurs (Feb 2011).

In South Sudan, Bert developed the Agribusiness Development Programme, including SME credit guarantees (May 2011). This was followed by the recruitment of the programme manager and monitoring of the programme (until Sept 2014).

Micro-lending

Bert was also involved in a number of micro-lending projects.

In Lesotho, Bert helped develop the operating modalities of savings and credit groups and establish their micro enterprises (March / April 1997, and one month supervision the next year).

In Cape Verde, Bert set up an micro-credit programme for multi-sectoral lending to small enterprises. The assignment included the elaboration of statutes, a procedures manual, and a loan tracking system, as well as coaching of the programme's manager (Sept 1997).

In Guinea-Bissau, Bert developed a lending facility for small-scale industries, later to become the manager of the fund when established (Mar to Dec 1994). The programme financed 15 SMIs in the first year, and 15 more in the second.

In Cambodia, Bert took part in the PRASAC micro-credit mission, formulating proposals for the operation of the credit programme in the period 2000-2003. PRASAC had already established over 700 savings and credit associations in the rural areas of Cambodia. Loans were made to farms, agricultural processing and distribution. During the mission Bert particularly looked at the internal auditing and control systems of PRASAC (Oct 1999).

In Burundi, Bert worked with the micro finance sector and Banks to rehabilitate and professionalise the sector through a grant fund, establish a micro-finance refinancing facility, and an SME credit line (May 2006 - Nov 2008). In Jan 2009 a follow-up programme was developed, aiming to increase the professional levels of MFIs including benchmarking. In Dec 2013 a third phase, more focussed on outreach, was designed.

Also in Burundi, Bert designed an agricultural (micro) finance programme (agricultural credit guarantees, warehouse receipts, technical assistance to MFIs, small grants) (March and May 2012)

Other services: Turnaround, Business Support, Credit Appraisal, Institutional, Training, Project Cycle, Policy.

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