The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Pran Dairy Limited (PDL), a member of one of the biggest food and agribusiness groups in Bangladesh, today signed a $10 million loan agreement to support dairy value chain during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The loan will allow PDL to continue to procure raw milk from the 12,000 smallholder dairy farmers within its value chain, and further expand to another 1,200 farmers who would otherwise lose income, said an ADB press release.
“COVID-19 has caused significant disruptions in the agricultural value chain,” said Investment Specialist at the Agribusiness Investment Unit of ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department Tushna Dora.
“This has resulted in food waste, while restrictions in labor 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,” added the official.
“PDL is engaged in adding value and increasing the shelf life of agri-produce through collecting, processing, packaging, and distributing ready to consume products to thousands of consumers at home and abroad,” said Chief Financial Officer of PDL Uzma Chowdhury.
“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.” added Uzma.
While PDL 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.
The release said PDL is a member of the PRAN-RFL Group (PRAN), one of the largest private employers in Bangladesh. PDL manufactures and markets milk and milk products and is one of the three largest companies in the country’s organized dairy sector.