How a Dutch bank is helping Indian poultry farmers

In India, cooperative poultry farming has proven to be a successful means of fighting poverty. One Rabobank with a large number of contacts in this sector is Rabobank Barneveld-Voorthuizen and one day this bank decided to lend a helping hand.

Poultry project fights poverty

To fight the rampant poverty in rural India, Pradan, an Indian organisation, has been running a vast poultry project for seventeen years. Using microcredit loans, Pradan has helped some 7,000 households to establish their own small poultry farms. To enable them to compete with established market parties, they are united into twenty cooperatives. Rabobank Barneveld-Voorthuizen (in cooperation with Rabobank Woudenberg-Lunteren) decided to offer this project financial support through the Rabobank Foundation.

Dutch expertise

In 2014, Rabobank's social fund is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Local Rabobanks have been closely involved in the foundation since its earliest days.

'Poultry farming is an area we are really well known for working in,' explains Esther Bettink-van den Brink, Cooperation Advisor for Rabobank Barneveld-Voorthuizen. 'So this seemed a perfect choice of project for us to adopt. But that also meant that we wanted to offer more than just financial support. Quite a number of our customers have extensive knowledge and experience in the poultry sector. And some of them were willing to contribute this valuable expertise towards helping the Indian project.'

'Giving children something to eat is temporary. But if we can teach them to produce food themselves, we can help them for the long term!'

Ab Jansen of Jansen Poultry Equipment – customer of Rabobank Barneveld-Voorthuizen

Visit to counterparts in India

In 2011, these poultry experts visited the small chicken farmers in India. 'There, they looked into what exactly these small farmers needed. Based on the results, we made a plan that led to a new financing application submitted to the Rabobank Foundation. This plan included a lot of different things, such as designing an incubator for chicks. It had to be something not only coordinated for the Indian climate, but something that would be easy to make in the country with cheap local materials.' In 2013, a group of Pradan managers then came to the Netherlands. They completed trainings and were given advice on aspects such as nutrition, vaccination and housing for poultry.

Adoption programme increases involvement

This project does not operate in isolation. The adoption programme allows local Rabobanks to increase their involvement with the Rabobank Foundation. The banks adopt a cooperation in a developing country and undertake a long-term commitment to support it. Over eighty-five banks have now adopted a project.