Citi announces launch of rural training program in China

Microfinance Focus May 14, 2011: Citibank China Co. Ltd. (Citi) and the China Friendship Foundation for Peace and Development (CFFPD), recently announced the launch of a new initiative known as ‘Citi-CFFPD Sustainable Rural Enterprise Train the Trainer Program.’

The program, aims to provide household enterprises with technical and practical training on growing oil tea camellia and chestnut trees. Training will also focus on sustainable agriculture techniques, with the objective of increasing farmers’ income levels while also creating permanent job opportunities.

The training will initially be conducted with 60 farmers from 43 villages via three separate courses. These farmers will then act as trainers for 1,200 low-income rural household enterprises, which have an average annual income level of USD180, in their respective villages.

Rural household enterprises are small family run businesses with up to six members. The program hopes that farmers will be able to increase their crop yield levels by at least 100 percent and their income levels by at least 30 percent by 2012.

Citi is a global financial services company, with approximately 200 million customer accounts and business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Through Citicorp and Citi Holdings, Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with financial products and services such as consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

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Citi Announces Rural Training Program in China

It is indeed a right step in a right direction that Citibank China Co. Ltd and CFFPD has initiated program to train 60 farmers who can further train others to at least double their farm output and improve income levels by 30% by 2012. In fact, intenational banks in developing countries may need to consider such programs on a continuing basis since rural areas in most developing countries represent unfathomable gold mines where Bank's money [capital] can surely with the aid of Science & Technology can convert physical, natural and biological resources,such as land, labor, livestock, water, fisheries, forestry, solar energy etc into productive assets to generate income for farmers continuously. However, international experience suggests that while this calls for Governments to create enabling environment for sustainable development of agriculture & rural enterprises including appropriate farmer-friendly legal & regulatory framework and infrastructure, Banks should also conduct on-the job training program for bank staff involving farmers and there should be post-training follow-up and refresher training programs. Dr Amrit Patel, Edison, NJ 08837, USA[732-553-0825]

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