Rural loans program wins international recognition

Updated: 2008-02-27 14:46

China's rural micro credit program wins international recognition

NANCHANG -- A "micro-credit loans to farmers" pilot program in Wuyuan County in eastern Jiangxi Province has been ISO 9001:2000 certified.

It demonstrates that China's micro loans efforts in rural areas have grown from a mere financial business to a functioning service with its own characteristics.

Qi Xixiao, a Wuyuan farmer, got into trouble this Spring Festival after most of his 17 hectares of contracted saplings froze or were starved to death by the heaviest snow in decades.

Luckily, he received a 20,000 yuan (2,797 US dollars) loan without a mortgage from the Wuyuan County Rural Credit Union, the major area lender to farmers.

"With the loan, I can buy seedlings before the springtime. It gives me hope."

In total, 33,481 rural Jiangxi households have received micro loans worth 569 million yuan to date to restore their crops and production after the snow disaster.

The central government began to experiment with micro-loan programs in several counties, including Wuyuan, in 2000 to boost farm borrowing and investment.

The micro loans operate by lending small amounts to individuals without collateral, normally 10,000 yuan to 30,000 yuan. The highest amount could be up to 100,000 yuan.

In the first year of its implementation, Wuyuan County Rural Credit Union lent 150 million yuan to 23,519 rural households, nearly half of the total rural households. More than 95 percent of the debtors returned the principal and interest in time.

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