Bali Provides Rp38.5bn in Loans for Agribusiness

DENPASAR ~ Bali’s administration in cooperation with the Regional Development Bank (BPD) will make Rp38.5 billion (US$3.6 million) available as low-interest loans to support agribusiness, empowerment of cooperatives, small- and medium-scale businesses (UKMs).

“The loans will be extended with a low interest rate for two years for agribusiness development in eight districts and a city in Bali,” head of the local UKM and Cooperative Office I Wayan Suasta said here on Monday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting on the enlargement of the role of village cooperatives (KUD) in the development of agribusiness, I Wayan Suasta said some Rp2.5 billion of the funds had already been disbursed.

He said the rest of the funds would be used for UKMs and cooperatives empowerment, while KUDs would have an opportunity to use the facility to engage in agribusiness.

Agribusiness development in Bali, he said, had bright prospects, especially cow fattening in the districts of Badung and Bangli, food commodity development, horticulture and other productive businesses for the welfare of local people.

He added it was hoped the loans would be useful in helping to improve the people’s economy, and empower KUDs.

Seperately, Klungkung officials have discussed the potential of agribusiness to deal with serious poverty in the regency, according to an official on Wednesday.

Head of Kungkung Land, Plantations and Forestry Department (Distanbunhut) Wayan Muliartha said he believed the development of rural agriculture-based programmes would directly reduce the number of families living in poverty.

Muliartha said the department’s rural agribusiness program, or PUAP, focused on empowering poverty stricken villagers by giving them a chance at running their own businesses.

He also said one PUAP program was integrated with the national program empowerment of the independent community (PNPM Mandiri), which also worked with farming groups to reduce unemployment.

“The development of agribusiness is matched with the ability and potential of the village,” he said.

He said in 2009, 28 farming groups in four subdistricts had been given grants to start their own agribusinesses.

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