IESC Supports USAID DFC Partner Bank to Expand its Reach to the Agriculture Sector
IESC F2F Volunteers Support Amana Bank to Target Needs of Agricultural Lenders and Borrowers in Tanzania
The USAID and U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) guarantee supports financial institutions to increase their agricultural lending activities by covering outstanding principals on qualifying defaulted loans to borrowers in the agricultural value chain, with a focus on women and youth borrowers. This USAID/DFC guarantee was provided in 2019 to Amana Bank, an Islamic bank in Tanzania, to strengthen the bank’s ability to provide financing to agricultural borrowers while minimizing risk. Since then, despite efforts to provide innovative financial solutions to farmers, the bank’s agriculture portfolio has remained under 1%.
To support Amana Bank in its agri-lending efforts, the Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program in Tanzania mobilized three pairs of volunteer experts to provide targeted training and support in 2021 and 2022. In August 2021, U.S. volunteer expert (USVE) Allyn Lamb and Tanzanian local volunteer expert (LVE) Ganza Wilson conducted an assessment to identify opportunities for expanding Amana Bank’s agricultural lending portfolio. The pair also delivered hands-on agriculture financing training to bank leadership. Next came the development of a formal strategic plan for agricultural lending, with the help of USVE Allyn Lamb and LVE Anania Maro in September 2021. Anania and Allyn developed a business blueprint for Amana’s lending to the agriculture, livestock, and fisheries sectors on mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar. In March 2022, the third volunteer pair, USVE Heather Weeks and LVE Fredrick Masungwa, reviewed the bank’s agriculture financing and lending tools, policies, and procedures, and redesigned the risk and loan underwriting matrix. The pair also trained bank management on how to use the tools to help expand agricultural lending.
In response to IESC’s F2F volunteer interventions and recommendations, Amana Bank took major steps to strengthen its agri-lending including the provision of training for staff on agri-financing activities, employing a professional agriculture lender, developing a five-year formal strategic plan for agricultural lending, and adopting and approving specific agriculture lending policies and tools. With these new practices in place, Amana Bank partnered with input suppliers and the Government of Zanzibar in support of the Zanzibar blue economy initiatives and provided fishing inputs on credit to fisherman in Pemba. This included 835 boat engines (approximately $2,500 USD each) and 350 boats (approximately $4,300 USD each) in April 2022, all under the DFC credit guarantee. The bank also disbursed $18,000 USD in loans to farmers.
Hussein Rashid Hussein, a fisherman in Pemba, said, “These boats and machines will not only enable us to fish deep sea and catch a wide variety of different types of fish that we are unable to find at the shore, but it also increases our safety, improves our businesses, and generates more income for our families and community in Micheweni.” With these new loans in place, the value of Amana Bank’s agri-lending has increased by 79% in a span of nine months – coming in at approximately $1.45 million USD in June 2022, representing 2.4% of its overall customer financing portfolio.
Mr. Musa Kitoi, the Deputy Managing Director of Amana Bank, reflected on the support provided by F2F:“F2F has supported the design of agricultural lending policy that has helped us to improve and manage the credit risk on an ongoing basis to meet agriculture customer needs and to maintain a sound agriculture lending portfolio.”
IESC will continue to support Amana Bank with training to further expand its lending, including on agricultural cycles, assessing and accepting unconventional securities, and supporting agricultural loan monitoring and recovery techniques. Moving forward, the focus will be on reaching youth and women to catalyze Tanzania’s prosperity, expand productivity and food security, create jobs, and improve livelihoods.
The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 50 years.
The John Ogonowski and Doug Bereuter Farmer-to-Farmer Program (F2F) provides technical assistance from U.S. volunteers to farmers, farm groups, agribusinesses and other agriculture sector institutions in developing and transitional countries with the goal of promoting sustainable improvements in food security and agricultural processing, production and marketing.