The agricultural sector accounts for some 2% of GDP and paid employment in New Caledonia and almost 11% of companies in the Territory. However, the food coverage rate is low, at approximately 15%. Consequently, the primary sector is a major issue for New Caledonia, which imports the bulk of its food. This sector therefore benefits from major support from the public authorities via dedicated bodies, market protection and financial assistance, including grants to provinces and subsidized loans distributed by Crédit Agricole Mutuel (CAM).
However, CAM has limited resources due to its status as an independent mutual financial company, and does not have access to certain traditional bank resources. This limits its capacity to finance its clients’ medium and long-term investment loans. AFD is consequently renewing its support to this atypical credit institution, in order to support professionals in the rural sector and meet a real need for CAM.
As CAM is a cooperative company with variable capital 100%-owned by its members (1,700 in 2015), it does not belong to any banking structure. The company’s purpose is to facilitate the operations conducted by its members. It operates throughout the Territory, in rural areas and, more specifically, in the agricultural sector. Its client base is exclusively made up of professionals and most of them are individual entrepreneurs. CAM’s activity involves allocating commercial, cash, equipment and property loans for the rural sector. Unlike local commercial banks, it does not offer payment systems and does not collect deposits. It has a good reputation among professionals, thanks to its expertise in rural industries, and its capacity to advise is recognized and appreciated by its clients. Its market share in this sector is estimated at over 50%.
This financing contributes to: Supporting investment and modernizing companies in the rural sector in New Caledonia, particularly in agriculture and livestock raising, between 2015 and 2016, Developing income-generating activities outside Greater Nouméa (71.3% of CAM’s outstanding performing loans are located outside Greater Nouméa), and comes in addition to AFD’s other operations to promote the development of New Caledonia’s private sector.