Farmers encouraged to join USDA to get loans

Jan 15, 2009 (DVB), Farmers seeking agricultural loans from the Union Solidarity and Development Association are being encouraged to join the organisation and charged fees for application forms.

Local farmer in Thonegwa township, Rangoon division, said villages with a high level of USDA membership were most likely to benefit from the loans.

"Since 14 January, a group of USDA officials led by the township USDA leader Dr Myint Thein have been visiting villages in the area and setting up procedures for agricultural loans," the farmer said.

"The process has already been completed in Aung Pan Sein, Min Ywar and Phayagyi village," he said.

"Apparently their programme is only likely to benefit villages where there are a lot of members."

The farmer said local people viewed the loans as a propaganda effort ahead of the 2010 elections, which the USDA will contest.

"They assured the farmers they would take care of their needs if they joined the association and that the problems of those who did join would not be their concern," the farmer said.

"Then they charged 1000 kyat for photos and 1000 more as document fees from those who agreed to join," he said.

"They are only giving loan of 5000 kyat per acre of farmland and we still have to pay them 2000 kyat. So a lot of people who agreed to join are now very disappointed."

Reporting by Naw Say Phaw

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