A small loan of around $100 was all it took for Daw Than Nwe, from Taung Poet Thar village, in Myanmar, to hire four seasonal workers, diversify her crops and boost her yields.
“I used the money to buy fertilizer,” says Daw Than Nwe, a mother of seven. ”If I use fertilizer on my farm the onions are much better. I sell them to a trader in Myingyan.”
She used the loan to plant chickpea and onions on her 6-acre farm. Both crops are profitable and the proximity to Myingyan market make these crops attractive for local farmers. Daw Than Nwe also hired four women from the community to help her with the farm. She says the salaries in the local market are lower for women, despite women being better workers than men. Daw’s membership in the local Township Savings Credit Union is also helping her save more money. To date, she has saved over 50,000 kyats and is hoping to save more.
Daw Than Nwe is one of approximately 7,000 farmers from the Myingyan and Natogyi region of Myanmar who have been able to access small loans and expand their farm operations. A project implemented by the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada, with funding though UNOPS/LIFT, has helped establish two township savings coops and strengthen the situation of farmers and their productive capacity.