Micro Credit has been the biggest and longest on-going program of SOJAG. This has been running since 1987, initially with SOJAG’s own resources, and later with financial assistance of PKSF. A total of 35,237 individual group members of 330 villages of28 unions under 6 upazilas have been brought under this activity.
a) Micro Enterprise: The success of micro credit operations has prompted SOJAG to launch micro enterprise since 2005. Currently, this activity is being carried out in 181 villages of 24 unions. Under this program, up to June 2010, Tk. 139,674,050 were disbursed to 2,395 (890 women and 1,505 men) belonging to 427 groups.
b) Livestock: Livestock was an integral part of agriculture even a few years back as lands were ploughed with bullock driven power. Each and every farmer family had livestock for tilling the land. However, in recent times with the advent of power tillers and tractors the use of livestock is almost nonexistent. The economic benefit of raising livestock has, nonetheless, increased due to huge demands for milk and meat. Raising livestock was beset with numerous problems, namely, mortality of livestock due to various diseases, lack of veterinary services and vaccination facilities.
With the objective of increasing financial development of farmers, SOJAG launched Livestock rearing project in 2006. Under this activity interested farmers are being provided seasonal loans and repayment is made in single installment after sale of the livestock. The first year witnessed a resounding success with 100 percent repayment. Since then the program has continually grown in size and volume and currently it is the second largest program of SOJAG. SOJAG provides full technical assistance in form of supervision and monitoring and veterinary services by trained staff. Such intensive monitoring and supervision helped reduce mortality to almost zero. SOJAG has demonstrated successfully that any family can profitably raise 6-8 livestock and be able to earn a substantial income. SOJAG is also striving to establish family based ‘mini farm’.
c) Livestock Insurance: If the livestock purchased with credit/loan money dies, the family can easily go bankrupt and become ruined and to recuperate from such loss becomes very difficult and arduous. On this realization, SOJAG has come with an innovative idea, the first in Bangladesh, of starting Livestock Insurance scheme. This scheme started operating from 2008 under which the person receives full refund and compensation for the death of livestock due to disease. This is a self-financing scheme and the funds are raised from a ‘one-time’ small levy on farmers who voluntarily pay about Tk. 200 extra per cattle head along with loan repayment. Till 2010 SOJAG has paid Tk. 2,247,750 to 135 individuals who lost their livestock.