The Asian Development Bank and Pran Dairy Ltd, a member of one of the biggest food and agribusiness groups in Bangladesh, have signed a $10 million loan agreement to support dairy value chain during the coronavirus disease pandemic, bdnews24.com reports.
The loan will allow Pran Dairy to continue to procure raw milk from 12,000 smallholder dairy farmers within its value chain, and further expand to another 1,200 farmers who would otherwise lose income, the ADB said in a statement on its website on Monday.
“COVID-19 has caused significant disruptions in the agricultural value chain,” said Tushna Dora, investment specialist at the Agribusiness Investment Unit of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department.
“This has resulted in food waste, while restrictions in the labour movement have interrupted the harvest and delayed food processing. It is essential that we provide financial support to food supply chain participants, to bolster the livelihoods of farmers and factory workers while guaranteeing the continued availability of essential food items.”
“The value chain connects farmers with consumers, and was disrupted in many ways by the pandemic. ADB’s timely support will help to mend disruptions of the value chain and create stronger linkages between farmers and consumers—boosting the local agri-based economy,” said Uzma Chowdhury, chief financial officer of Pran Dairy.
While the company has sufficient processing and storage capacity to ensure uninterrupted supply to consumers, the loan will provide emergency working capital for additional support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the statement.
Pran Dairy is a member of the PRAN-RFL Group, one of the largest private employers in Bangladesh. It manufactures and markets milk and milk products and is one of the three largest companies in the country’s organised dairy sector.