LEN targetting agri production in Region Ten

─Outreach to outlying communities

─initiative part of five-year strategic development plan

─looking to exploit all sectors of business development

DPI, Guyana, Friday, March 29, 2019

As part of its five-year Strategic Development Plan, the Linden Enterprise Network (LEN), has embarked on a massive outreach across Region Ten.  The aim of the exercise is to ensure residents residing in these outlying communities are able to tap into financial and technical assistance for their business initiatives, primarily those agriculturally related.

Over the last two weeks, LEN engaged residents of Rock Stone, Bamia, Moblissa, Ituni, Aroaima, Hururu and Kwakwani. These communities have limited education and employment opportunities; therefore, LEN is on a mission to strengthen the communities’ economies, thus making them self-sustainable.

CEO of LEN, Tanniza Gasper, explained that organisation is on a mission to boost its presence in the various sector areas. Agriculture is big on the agenda and LEN is pushing to have an impact in enabling Region Ten to make strides in food security. Gasper noted that 85 percent of agriculture produce demanded in Region Ten comes from other regions.

Loan officer at LEN, Neola Glasgow, related that on Tuesday, most of the interested residents are presently involved in cash crop production, poultry and cattle rearing amongst other forms of agriculture. In Rockstone, residents expressed interest in expanding their aquaculture and apiculture business initiatives, of which LEN has agreed to come on board with.

Glasgow explained that agricultural-based businesses have a different repayment cycle as opposed to monthly repayments for regular businesses. For poultry, repayment has a nine-month cycle, with payments required every three months. For cash crop production, the reimbursement is scheduled upon the growth and development of the crop. The residents were sensitised on the requirements needed to qualify for the loans.

The prospective clients were assured that LEN not only approves loans but also ensures that those businesses remain viable. “We are not only here to give loans, but we are also walking you through step by step, we want to ensure that your business brings in revenue, we are leading you with the right nurturing,” Dominic Henry, Business Development Officer at LEN told residents of Ituni.

The organisation’s basic requirements are the submission of working capital. Many of the residents of these outlying communities related that they have no collateral to access the loans. Director of LEN Denise Belgrave related that the residents can still access these loans through a guarantor.  The aim she said is to work with everyone, putting every possibility on the table, to ensure the loans are secured. The age requirement is between 18 to 65 years old. LEN’s interest rate is 8 percent across the board.

LEN provides loans for business initiatives from as low as $50, 000 to $1 Million. In 2019, the company was allocated $200 Million from the Ministry of Finance, which is the overseeing body.

The Board of Directors, headed by Chairman Orrin Gordon would have considered the need to raise the ceiling for lending and will submit the proposal to the Finance Ministry for approval. The proposal suggests that loans can be approved to as much as $7 Million and there will also be a case by case evaluation for much larger businesses.

The company will be visiting other Region Ten communities such as Mabura, Muritaro and Malali in the next few weeks.

Story and images: Vanessa Braithwaite

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