Research in Punjab Province for Kisaan by Mohammad Uzair Akram (F’20)

by cpinkerton
Jan 23

Kisaan is a proposed microfinance product aimed at incentivizing farmers in Pakistan to buy agricultural inputs such as tractors, solar-powered irrigation pumps etc. The local implementing partner for Kisaan was Akhuwat, Pakistan’s largest interest-free microfinance organization. Established in 2001, Akhuwat’s core mission has been to reach marginalized communities and to provide them finance to establish micro and small businesses.

In the domain of agriculture, Akhuwat provides loans to small-scale farmers by forming small groups, with each group consisting of three to six people. Keeping in mind the socio-economic conditions of farmers, Akhuwat utilizes social security as collateral in which the performance of everyone affects the over-all profile of that group. Although other commercial banks follow the same methodology, Akhuwat surpasses its competitors by harmonizing the community along religious lines and shared profitability. These existing groups, which have been already well documented, can be utilized effectively to provide Kisaan products- tractors and solar water pumps- to farmers. Hence, the Akhuwat foundation provides the best match for introducing Kisaan in the agriculture sector of Pakistan.

Team Kisaan utilized Akhuwat’s existing networks and outreach to the farmers. We conducted a feasibility study on Akhuwat's existing clients who had already taken microfinance loans from Akhuwat. Right now, the amount of loans is not enough to purchase capital inputs. Through this scheme, Akhuwat can help them adopt modern technology.  We identified the areas- with the help of Akhuwat- in the proximity of the district of Kasur and arranged one-on-one meetings with farmers, as well as with designed focus groups within the same area. Akhuwat has been tirelessly working for the welfare of small scale-farmers for the last three years. They possess a vast network of small-scale and medium-scale farmers across various districts of Punjab— the agricultural hub of Pakistan. 

As far as individual surveys are concerned, the farmers showed a bit of reluctance when answering the survey questions. Given the local dynamics of the community, the focus groups were more useful as farmers spoke candidly about the problems, they face related to agriculture and how much they are eager to participate in a program based on the Islamic finance system. Of the focus groups, one group consisted of female members of the farming community. This focus group was crucial for the research considering the potential of women in the agriculture sector.

The participants in the study were not only collaborative but were highly hospitable and insisted on having lunch with us every time we would visit the villages.

Akhuwat: -


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