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Credit institutions to help regional farmers

Update: October, 23/2014 - 10:40
Viet Nam News talks with Secretary General of the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association Chamnong Siriwongyotha about how the association helps regional farmers.

What are the major difficulties regional farmers are facing and how can you help?

Chamnong Siriwongyotha
While rural farmers need more financial support to cope with natural disasters and meet rising demands for new technology, the role of the finance system including rural micro-finance is not yet able to meet the emerging problems.

HA NOI — Domestic and international banking experts are discussing ways to provide funds and boost sustainable agricultural production at a regional forum on agricultural financing in Ha Noi that run from October 22 to 25.

Participants at the forum highlighted some of the problems farmers are facing, such as seasonal incomes, small-scale production, and difficulties accessing long-term loans, adding that this was also preventing credit institutes from hitting their targets.

While agreeing with these points, the Viet Nam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank), which co-hosted the event with the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association, said this was also a great opportunity for the industry.

Agribank's Chairman of the Board of Directors Trinh Ngoc Khanh said Viet Nam was an agricultural country, and 70 per cent of the population worked in farming. His bank, the biggest commercial bank in Viet Nam, was set up in 1988 to serve farmers, agriculture and rural development.

The bank has total assets of US$36.6 billion, and provides more than 4 million rural households with various types of banking services.

International participants also shared experience from their own countries on how to best disburse the loans for farmers. They will end their discussion today and before leaving on a field trip to the north of Viet Nam to learn more about rural credit activities in the country. — VNS

The impact of climate change is very severe for the farmers who face the strongest effects of natural disasters. For farmers, the disasters can be droughts, storms, floods or snow, depending on which part of the world they are living.

Our members are from very different parts of the region and all of them have suffered badly from climate change. We have set up a programme that builds a safety network and a learning centre to help farmers to become self-reliant and recover from the impacts of climate change. It is called the Risk Management Strategies Programme, and helps farmers from all over the region to learn from each other and build effective plans in response to climate change.

APRACA was established in 1977 and has 69 members in 21 countries. We plan to expand in the Asia Pacific region to Fiji, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand, and across central Asia in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Mongolia.

To promote productivity, welfare and self-reliance among rural people in the Asia Pacific region, we want to improve capacity building and educational sharing. We have developed a system of learning through exchanges of expertise, training courses and workshops on agriculture and rural finance for staff so they can provide financial services for their clients.

Agribank has been working with APRACA for the last 20 years. How do you judge its contribution?

Agribank is one of the major supporters of our association. It is a strong partner, and has made significant contributions. The bank was chairman of APRACA from 2008-2010.

Agribank has organised many training courses for APRACA members, and using its expertise and experience in this field, it has been assigned to establish the fifth APRACA excellence centre. We currently have two excellence centres in Indonesia, one in India and one in Iran.

Farmers in Viet Nam and Thailand have so many similarities. They rely on rice as their main crop, and as farmers from developing countries, they need financial support.

In Thailand, we have the Government Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, which reaches over 95 per cent of farmers' demands there. Viet Nam has Agribank which has an extensive network of 2,300 branches across the country. They have more branches, and also have the advantage of an international relationship with their Thai counterpart. — VNS

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