Australian Government has given its support to the SME sector through a partnership with the Women’s Micro Bank (Mama Bank).
A K3.5million Revolving Fund from the Australian Government to the Women’s Micro Bank to support export crops in PNG was recently launched.
These funds will enable exporters to finance SMEs to purchase quality raw materials for exports and the facility will be available to exporters and SMEs dealing with coffee, cocoa, copra, and vanilla.
The Australian Government supports PNG’s overall economic growth and recognizes that the agriculture sector is a key component of national progress and prosperity.
Mr Nic Jonsson, Counsellor (Economics) at the Australian High Commission to Papua New Guinea, said that the Australian Government is proud to support Women’s Micro Bank (Mama Bank) in setting up a revolving fund that provides affordable credit to SMEs.
“Australia supports the development of PNG’s agriculture sector by collaborating with public and private sectors to enhance PNG Agri-value chains that is crucial for high-value agricultural exports. “
He further added that limited access to affordable financing poses a challenge to the growth of this value chain therefore it is important to support financial service providers to offer affordable credit to SMEs and smallholders, which can later be used to improve their production.
“The financial tool will enhance financial inclusion for women-owned SMEs and facilitate the export of quality coffee, cocoa, vanilla, copra, and other cash crops”.
Mama Bank Board’s Chairman, Mr Noel Norikgu, described the partnership as a milestone for SMEs in agriculture.
According to him, the fund will economically empower SMEs by enabling them to access credit and ease the liquidity crunch during the commodity buying season.
The Revolving Fund will allow exporters to finance SMEs to purchase raw materials from smallholder farmers multiple times a year.
The fund has two components:
• Financing SMEs suppliers and processors to source quality raw materials.
• Priority financing for women-owned SMEs to source quality raw materials and acquire equipment for value addition.
The Revolving Fund is a new addition to the Mama Bank’s portfolio.
Mr Norikgu stated that the bank has introduced innovative products that provide affordable finance to both growers and women owned MSMEs, thus empowering them economically.
Most of the banks’ products include microloans for smallholders.
“Through the Revolving Fund, Mama Bank will provide loans to small and medium  sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them overcome the liquidity issues that Agri-SMEs encounter when purchasing raw materials.”