FINANCIAL INCLUSION OF ALBANIAN SMALLHOLDERS

Listening · Empowering · Reaching out

About FIAS
FiAS (Financial Inclusion of Albanian Smallholders) Project is a technical cooperation project supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and implemented in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and Economy, Albania.  The Project aims to improve financial inclusion of rural smallholder families in Albania, by developing new financial and non-financial products and services that flexibly respond to the needs of farmers. This is being achieved through strengthening the capacity of a Savings and Credit Association, FED invest, which provides financial services across rural Albania.
Context of agriculture and small holder farmers in Albania
  • 42% of the total land area is used for agriculture
  • Agriculture constitutes 20% of Albania’s GDP and employs slightly less than 50% of the total workforce 
  • 86% of Albania’s farms are small holdings with size less than 2 ha.
  • Women represent 50% of those working in agriculture, but only 6.5% head farm households
  • Challenges faced by small holders:

  • Constitutes 30% of working population but have access to 2% of the formal credit services
  • This in turn leads to
  • low use of motorized equipment: 11%
  • low use of fertilizers: 50%
  • only 48% of arable land is irrigated
  • Agricultural produce is sold through local markets, and inputs are obtained the same way. However only 12% of produce is sold

Source: FAO, 2018., Small Family farms, country factsheet, Albania, accessed http://www.fao.org/3/i8914en/I8914EN.pdf FAO. 2019. Smallholders and Family Farms in Albania. Country Study Report 2019. Budapest

Theory of Change

“If small holder farmers have access to relevant financial services, developed and delivered through a customer centric approach, and are supported through technical assistance in modern agricultural production techniques, they will see value, which will result in an increase in business value for FED invest (the financial service provider partner), and contribute to broader societal/economic value

FED invest: The partner financial service provider

Providing financial services for Albanian population living in rural and peri-urban areas since 1992.

Geographic Coverage

5 Key Actions with 3 Approaches

Listening

Customer centric culture

Action 1: Translating customer insights into relevant products and positive customer experiences
Action 2: Rapid response during the global pandemic based on customer insights 

Empowering

Capacity building

Action 3. Financial & digital education (incl. Digital windows)

Action 4. Agri technical & market information through ABA Centre services

Reaching Out

Enabling technical capabilities

Action 5. IT infrastructure upgrading to respond to customer needs & reaching out

Digital agri technical & market information services through ABA online.

Listening: Learning from Customers

ACTION 1.

USING CGAP’s CUSTOMER CENTRICITY WORK

FiAS Project works with FED invest, a partner who delivers financial services to small holder farmers across remote, rural Albania

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Embodying leadership and culture through customer centricity model

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Member-focused activities

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Staff empowerment with new ideas & tools

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Customer experience in design and delivery

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Value addition for each member results in value for FED invest

FiAS Project activities designed around the 5 pillars of “Customer Centricity“

Leadership and culture
  • All employees and customers are members: easier to implement customer centricity
  • Member centric committee has been created which advises the board on customer needs and feedback (outcome of FiASproject)

Listening: Learning from Customers

ACTION 2.

COVID 19 response with Input Support Scheme

Features of the support scheme

  • Targeted mikro-1 loan (less than 600,000 ALL /5,700USD) customers (farmers) at 7 FED invest branches
  • Provided 40,000 ALL in the form of inputs
  • All beneficiaries who applied for the loan from July 2020 were eligible
  • Applications approved by the ABA management committee (see Action 4)
  • Agri input traders involved in the scheme opened current account with FED invest and were paid digitally
  • Farmers and agri-input traders had to register on ABA online and were informed about the current account

Empowering: Empowering customers & Employees

ACTION 3.

Financial & digital education

Drafting a plan aiming members’ financial education and inclusion.

Testing financial education modules with members and field staff.

Empowering: Empowering customers & Employees

ACTION 4.

Agri technical and market information through ABA Centre & ABA Online

ABA CENTER

AGRO BUSINESS ASSISTANCE

ABA Center serves as a center of agri-information, expertise, education, awareness and dissemination of best practices for Albanian farmers for their business development and financial capacity building.

Conception of ABA Center and types of non-financial services, based on farmers’ needs.

USEFUL
INFORMATION FOR SMALLHOLDERS
PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGIES, MARKET INFORMATION & MORE
The key experts provide reliable information and user-friendly to skim articles for the main agriculture sectors in Albania such as:
  • Livestock Farms
  • Greenhouse Vegetables
  • Field vegetables
  • Fruit Trees & Vineyards
  • Olives & Citrus
  • Apiculture (Beekeeping)
The Opinions Team are the leaders in their communities. They work closely with the ABA Team of FED invest.
OPINIONS TEAM

THEIR ROLE

To disseminate ABA center services, committee members collects opinions and reflects your voice on the services we provide.
CORE EXPERTS

THEIR ROLE

In order to respond to the needs of Albanian farmers to improve their business, ABA center has selected a Team of Experts, who provide accurate, up-to-date and reliable information on agriculture.
Reaching out: Going digital to connect & reach out

ACTION 5.

IT infrastructure upgrading
Internet Banking “FED Online” is ready to be launched with the new system
MEDIA


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