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The paper gives a brief description of the history and main institutional forms in the agricultural and rural financial services sector–commercial banks, the micro-finance industry, savings and credit cooperative societies, village banks, building societies and the Agricultural Finance Corporation. It ends by raising some of the issues that need to be addressed as we begin to deal with the institutional and regulatory framework for the subsector including the cost of funds and the array of existing policy and legislative proposals on the table. The main argument of the paper is that we need to step back and undertake a comprehensive assessment of the sector before government passes new laws, or spends public money in unproductive ways. The paper proposes that the agriculture sector ministries should play a leading role in pushing for that comprehensive assessment.


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