The Agricultural Bank of Egypt’s (ABE) loan portfolio increased by EGP 12.5bn from March 2020 to April 2021 to reach EGP 46.371bn, the bank’s Chairperson Alaa Farouk has revealed.
He pointed out that loans that fall within the scope of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) initiatives with a return of 5% and 8% account for about 90% of the bank’s total loans.
Farouk added that the bank succeeded in increasing deposits and certificates of deposit by more than EGP 15bn during the same period. This meant that the volume of deposits at the end of April 2021 amounted to EGP 78.155bn compared to EGP 63.133bn in March 2020.
He indicated that since he assumed the presidency of the bank nearly a year ago, the ABE has been able to achieve a great leap in increasing the volume of deposits, as it was able to reach homes and rural villages.
He pointed out that the bank’s “Bab Rizk” product supports rural development and addresses rural women. He also pointed to the bank’s intention to re-launch the “Bint Misr” product, with new features to support Egyptian women.
Farouk revealed that the bank has allocated about EGP 2bn to finance Egypt’s modern irrigation system. He stressed that the bank plays a major role in supporting the efforts of the state and the Ministry of Agriculture to line canals and drains.
The ABE also focuses on expanding financing programmes to support the transformation of modern irrigation systems, in coordination with the Ministries of Agriculture, and Water Resources and Irrigation.
This is in addition to financing dairy gathering centres, as well as financing projects in Toshka, New Valley, Matrouh, and Siwa, along with the national project for the reclamation of 1.5 million feddan.
He added that the bank aims to stimulate investment in all productive areas in the agricultural sector during the coming period.
This comes in addition to expanding the base of beneficiaries of agricultural loans during the coming period, and bringing the number of agricultural borrowing clients to 1.5 million clients.
In a related context, Farouk said that the proceeds of supplying local wheat to the ABE’s silos and storage capacities across Egypt amounted to about 504,000 tonnes of wheat, valued at EGP 2.425bn. This has taken place since the beginning of the season, with an increase expected in the quantities of wheat received this season compared to past seasons.
Farouk pointed out that this season’s local wheat supply business is progressing well, with positive results being achieved.
This is the result of early preparations for the reception of the wheat supply season and the implementation of a new integrated system for receiving wheat, as part of the bank’s endeavour to support the state’s efforts.
He emphasised that, this season, the bank is implementing an integrated system to receive wheat that is managed completely electronically, by providing point-of-sale (POS) machines in all storage sites.
This is also taking place through the provision of a real-time database that includes information about each supplier, the quantity supplied, the degree of sorting and other data.
This information is linked to display screens linked to the main centre, and all bank branches nationwide, to see the quantities supplied first-hand for each silo.
Farouk indicated that the ABE has established an operations room for the local wheat supply season, which will monitor and regulate the supply operations. The bank is also a member of the central operations room at the Ministry of Supply.
He stressed that the new system will greatly facilitate suppliers, as it will enable them to disburse the financial value of the quantities supplied of wheat from any branch of the bank, whether in cash or any other means chosen by the supplier.
He also noted that the amounts owed to the suppliers will be exempt from any administrative expenses or bank commissions. It will be paid in full according to the purchase prices approved by the Joint Ministerial Committee.
Farouk, accompanied by a number of bank leaders, undertook an inspection tour of silos and storage capacities for receiving local wheat in the Tamiya town in Fayoum governorate. The inspection aimed to review the progress of work on the storage capacities during this year’s local wheat supply season.
During the tour, Farouk was briefed on the system of work inside the storage facilities, and reviewed all the procedures for receiving the quantities of wheat, starting from entering the hangar until the completion of its storage.
He was also briefed on the views of suppliers and farmers about the mechanisms of work inside the hangar, the extent of their satisfaction with the quality of service, and the facilities that the bank granted them during the supply process.
Farouk directed all sector officials in the bank on the need for accurate and continuous field follow-ups of the supply operations. This would also overcome any obstacles that farmers and suppliers may face, and decided to reward all workers in the hangar in appreciation of their efforts in serving suppliers in a way that contributes to the success of this season.
The ABE is one of the authorities that receive local wheat from suppliers on behalf of the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC). This is because it has storage areas for receiving and storing wheat of 205 granaries, alongside 82 hangars and six metal silos, each with a capacity of about 1 million tons, distributed throughout Egypt.
He explained that the bank owns 52 granaries in the east of the Delta, 59 in the western Delta, 75 granaries in northern Upper Egypt, and 19 in southern Upper Egypt. This is in addition to dirt silos that are used as collection points for a temporary period until they are transferred to storage centres.
He added that the ABE puts all its capabilities within the reach of the farmers, and provides all its banking and financing services within the reach of all farmers and producers. This aims to maximise the benefit from the agricultural sector and agricultural industries, which represent important pillars of the national economy.
During the visit, Farouk met with Fayoum Governor Ahmed Al-Ansari to discuss ways to enhance cooperation between the two sides. The meeting also dealt with reviewing the efforts of the ABE in financing and activating state initiatives to support the agricultural sector.
This comes in accordance with CBE directives, and in coordination and close cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture. The initiatives work for the benefit of small farmers and breeders, such as: the initiative to finance the establishment and development of dairy centres; the national veal project; and the programme for the transition from the traditional irrigation system to the modern irrigation system.
A cooperation protocol was signed between the ABE and Fayoum to support and finance projects in the agricultural sector, livestock and fisheries, modern irrigation systems, and a number of rural development projects.