The Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC), in coordination with the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association Center for Training and Research on Agricultural Banking (APRACA-CENTRAB), hosted a three-day international workshop for the project “Documenting Global Best Practices on Sustainable Models of Pro-Poor Rural Financial Services in Developing Countries” (RuFBeP Project).

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Held on March 4-6, 2015 at the Midas Hotel in Manila, the workshop was attended by 75 participants from 8 countries composed of representatives of APRACA, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), national government departments/agencies engaged rural finance policies central banks, regulatory agencies, development banks, commercial banks, and other partner organizations from People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Cambodia. From the Philippines, key officials of the   Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank),    Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC),  Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool (AGFP),  National Livelihood Development Corporation (NLDC), Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), among others, were present.

ACPC  Executive Director Jovita M Corpuz, who is also the  President of the Board of Trustees of APRACA-CENTRAB and  Executive Committee Member of APRACA, acknowledged representatives from attending financing institutions in the Philippines, specifically the finance triumvirate namely: agricultural credit, credit guarantee, and agricultural insurance. She also acknowledged the presence of representatives from the different member-countries. She likewise expressed her gratitude to IFAD, composed of delegates from its central office in Rome, headed by Ms Hoonae Kim, Director for the Asia-Pacific Division of IFAD, and Mr. Sana F.K. Jatta, Lead Portfolio Advisor for Asia and the Pacific Region. Ms Corpuz expressed her appreciation to IFAD for being on top of the RuFBeP Project which aims to increase access to credit of the marginalized sector through the documentation of best practices (e.g. microfinance in agriculture), as well as to APRACA-CENTRAB and ACPC, the host institution, for doing the legwork in preparation for the event.

The RuFBeP Project is a four-year (March 2014 to March 2018) IFAD grant project being implemented by the APRACA in five participating member countries which includes People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

The project aims to sustainably reduce rural poverty and improve food security for rural communities in the Asia-Pacific region. Its purpose is to assist rural finance providers and governments in extending financial services on a sustainable basis, through the application of best practices suitable to their unique operating environments. More specifically, these best practices will be identified, studied, critically reviewed, and selectively piloted for adaptation and replicated and successfully scaled up by IFAD and other stakeholders involved in rural and agricultural finance.

The project aims to document pertinent cases of global best practices which could be used by the countries on the respective thematic areas identified/suggested by them. The themes to be covered under the Grant include savings, credit, innovative financial products, methodologies, legal structures, operational structures, management and governance, and the role of public and private sectors. An overarching theme is expanding knowledge management both within the Asia-Pacific region and internationally, particularly through the Regional Agricultural Credit Network of IFAD & APRACA.

The project seeks to achieve the following objectives:

  • Global best practices in the identified themes are selected and rated in terms of appropriateness to the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The best practices will be piloted and scaled up to test their effectiveness in projects sponsored by governments, IFAD, and other funders.
  • A systematic structure for encouraging dialogue amongst the various policy makers on promoting the best practices in providing financial services to the rural poor will be created.
  • Sharing of these best practices through workshops, conferences and knowledge hubs within APRACA network and outside.

The first dissemination workshop pursues provide a platform for the interested institutions involved in the RuFBeP Project to identify the best practices from their own country/ from other countries for piloting. The workshop also poised to serve as a regional forum to learn and exchange information on the best practices of rural finance being followed in various countries of this region and also discuss about the innovations and the challenges of the access to finance by the smallholders.

Key outcomes of the workshop included the five (5) country studies which provided resourceful information and analysis on the current status of rural financial service in the countries, existing critical rural finance issues and gaps within the national rural finance condition. The country studies documented 25 existing good practices in the countries in promoting inclusive financial services. Detailed discussions were conducted on the various best practices documented by the country working groups from 5 countries.

Through the workshop, the participants were able to understand the existing rural finance best practices in 5 project countries and relate these best practices under their unique operating environment and their relationship with the global best practices; generate inputs from the global experts to deepen the contents and strengthen the document; match the findings with the thematic focuses and issues of the selected countries for the Phase-2 of the project; formulate the working framework for piloting the best practices as accepted by the countries identified for the Phase-2;  finalize the focal point from the country team for pilot testing of the financial services/schemes and innovations and delineate specific responsibilities and tasks of project stakeholders; forge strategic partnerships and synergy among project stakeholders at both country and regional levels.

ACPC  Executive Director Jovita M Corpuz, also the  President of the Board of Trustees of APRACA-CENTRAB and  Executive Committee Member of APRACA, welcomed the participants to the  three-day dissemination workshop for the project “Documenting Global Best Practices on Sustainable Models of Pro-Poor Rural Financial Services in Developing Countries” (RuFBeP Project) held on March 4-6, 2015 at the Midas Hotel, Manila.

The three-day international workshop of the APRACA-IFAD project was attended by 75 participants, namely: five (5) country teams and their respective consultants from China, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand; representatives of APRACA, led by its Secretary General Chamnong Siriwongyotha together with Mr.  Prasun Kumar Das (RuFBeP Project) and Marlowe Aquino (FinServAccess Project);  IFAD, composed of delegates from its central office in Rome, headed by Ms Hoonae Kim, Director for the Asia-Pacific Division and Mr. Sana F.K. Jatta, Lead Portfolio Advisor for Asia and the Pacific Region; and IFAD country programme officers from the respective countries;  APRACA Centre for Training and Research on Agricultural Banking (CENTRAB), headed by Ms Jovita M. Corpuz, president of the Board of Trustees, and Ms Lecira Juarez, Managing Director;  Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) of the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA), the host institution for the workshop, which is likewise headed by its Executive Director Jovita Corpuz and ACPC officers and staff;  Officers from other APRACA member institutions in the Philippines including, among others, Ms Cecilia C. Borromeo, Executive Vice President of the Land Bank of the Philippines; Ms Edna Atienza, Program Manager of the Agricultural Guarantee Fund Pool (AGFP); Ms Gondelina G. Amata, President, National Livelihood Development Corporation; Ms Leny I. Sylvestre; and Managing Director, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and delegates from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other APRACA member institutions in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Cambodia.

Key outcomes of the workshop included the five (5) country studies which provided resourceful information and analysis on the current status of rural financial service in the countries, existing critical rural finance issues and gaps within the national rural finance condition.

Detailed discussions were conducted on the various best practices documented by the country working groups from the People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. Among those who participated in the discussions included delegates from IFAD’s central office in Rome, headed by Ms Hoonae Kim, Director for the Asia-Pacific Division and Mr. Sana F.K. Jatta, Lead Portfolio Advisor for Asia and the Pacific Region and IFAD country programme officers from the respective countries.

ACPC Executive Director Jovita M. Corpuz, also the  president of the Board of Trustees fot he APRACA Centre for Training and Research on Agricultural Banking (CENTRAB), (floral blouse) leads the discussion for the partcipipants from the Philippines composed of ACPC officers Deputy Exec. Directors Ramon C. Yedra and Jocleyn R. Badiola; Director Magdalena S. Casuga, Alvin Cabatu, Joel Matira with Dr. Gilberto M. Llanto.