Abdur Rashid, of Joypurhat District in Bangladesh, works with farmers who live in poverty due partly to their use of traditional cultivation systems. His company, M/S Abdur Rashid, provides farmers who typically use traditional cattle-pulled ploughs, with the opportunity to use modern farm tractors. Abdur’s company addresses a critical need among farmers, who are often unable to access the financing needed to purchase modern farming equipment due in part to low literacy levels. Formerly a subsistence farmer himself, Abdur understands the struggles facing millions in Bangladesh. His 1.33-acre land can barely support his 4-member family. Abdur also did not have the financial means, technical knowledge or literacy to adopt a modern cultivation system and thereby increase his income.
Abdur, however, was able to begin a new chapter of financial self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship when an acquaintance from ACI Motors referred him to CEED. ACI Motors had recently entered into a partnership with SEAF-USDA’s wholesale lending program in Bangladesh. The program accelerates the modernization of cultivation systems through a structured lending facility. The loan would be provided to entrepreneurs who completed CEED training programs.
Abdur joined CEED and attended training sessions focused on access to finance and strategic business growth. Abdur and other entrepreneurs learn how to maintain financial records as well as organize and manage their operations as an enterprise. In turn, Abdur successfully deployed these trainings in his community based cultivation model by incorporating fellow farmers. He quickly used his newly honed organizing and marketing skills to convince his fellow farmers of the benefits of modern farming.
Abdur’s successful completion of the training programs allowed him to receive tractor loans from ACI Motors on more manageable terms. The trainings also prepared Abdur to negotiate rent payments that sufficiently covered monthly loan installments and living costs. Abdur, who previously was unable to afford upfront equity contribution requirements, is now able to pay off an angel loan with first month tractor rents.
As Abdur explains, “the CEED training was a turning point which has transformed my life as well as the lives of my fellow farmers.” The reduced interest rates and longer tenor extended by ACI Motors for CEED trainees allowed Abdur to begin a new, more hopeful chapter in his life.