Agrobank is all set and ready to drive the nation’s socio-economic recovery plan and growth in the food security and agriculture sectors through its five-year Strategic Business Plan 2021-2025 (SBP 2021-2025).
Covering President/ Chief Executive Officer of Agrobank, Khadijah Iskandar said, agriculture remains as one of Malaysia’s main engines of growth from economic and social development perspectives, and Agrobank as the only agriculture-focused Developmental Financial Institution (DFI) in the country, shall stay focus to serve the needs of the agriculture sector and its communities through its SBP 2021-2025 which charts its business direction for the next five years.
“It has been our mandate since our inception in 1969 to support the government to develop the agriculture sector, and we believe as we move forward to fulfil our renewed vision “Advancing Agriculture Beyond Banking”, there is more work needed to be done to grow our agri-community, especially the unserved and underserved communities in Malaysia as a whole.
“COVID-19 brought us closer to our customers, in terms of paying more attention towards understanding what their critical needs are during these challenging times. The wave of COVID-19 has massively accelerated some pre-existing trends particularly in digitalisation. Looking beyond the pandemic, we believe that there is still much more we can do for our communities, and we do have exciting plans to uplift the long-term recovery of the agriculture sector,” she said.
According to Khadijah, the SBP 2021-2025 was crafted during the pandemic, therefore it clearly describes the Bank’s plans and directions to support the development of the agriculture sector and the agri-communities over the next five years with focus on four (4) Strategic Focus Areas (SFA) which are (i) Sound Agricultural Development, (ii) Inclusive Customer Focus, (iii) Transformative Business Models, as well as (iv) Sustainable Financial Condition.
SBP 2021-2025 is anchored by four (4) main Strategic Focus Areas, as follows:
(i) Sound Agricultural Development
Realigning Agrobank’s core developmental activities towards supporting national focus areas for agricultural development.
(ii) Inclusive Customer Focus
Upward migrating our customers in key segments (particularly B40, entrepreneurs and young agri-SMEs), becoming partners in the development of their overall financial wellbeing, and improving the overall Agrobank customer experience.
(iii) Transformative Business Models
Introducing new ways for Agrobank to conduct business with the aim of supporting agricultural development, through modalities that go beyond conventional banking.
(iv) Sustainable Financial Condition
Maintaining a balance between strengthening our developmental impact and ensuring financial stability.
In realising the goals of SBP 2021-2025, Agrobank will seek to proactively create value through smart partnership and synergistic collaboration with its business partners in order to achieve mutual benefits especially towards achieving its vision. Functioning as a catalyst within the ecosystem will thus enable the Bank to unlock and extract maximum value from its available resources and expertise in agriculture and food industries.
“The journey towards becoming an entrepreneur especially within the agriculture sector, is very challenging, therefore as long-term partners in this journey Agrobank shall support these agropreneurs by providing both financial and non-financial support at every step of their success.
“To push this agenda, wone of the 4 Strategic Focus Areas in our SBP 2021-2025 is called the Inclusive Customer Focus. Besides improving the overall Agrobank customer experience, we have strategic initiatives in place to support these young agropreneurs (the B40 group, asnaf, youth and women segment) over their lifecycle to strengthen their credit worthiness and improve their income generation capabilities,” she added.
In the meantime, Agrobank continues to play its role through the distribution of government stimulus packages such as PENJANA, PEMULIH, Special Relief Facility (SRF) and targeted relief as well as recovery facilities, to assist the post COVID-19 economic recovery in the agriculture sector.
“To date, we have disbursed various sorts of stimulus funds, including those under Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries and Bank Negara Malaysia approximately a total of RM924 million benefitting 14,824 customers around Malaysia.
“Agrobank will continue to play a vital role in extending financing programmes at low rates and other accommodating terms to address disruption in the supply chain. Even with the pandemic and the nation’s current situation, our month-on-month growth remains steady at 5% compared to the industry growth about 3%, “she said.
Beyond the financial assistance, Agrobank continues to supply the changing needs of its customers through its Agrobank Centre of Excellence (ACE), which provides educational support to agropreneurs by offering a multitude of online courses, webinars and special programmes to help the customers.