Myanmar Rice Federation to Broaden Micro Finance Opportunities for Farmers

The Myanmar Rice Federation (MRF) has announced plans to coordinate with local and foreign organizations to increase the number of microfinance businesses in Myanmar’s rice sector. According to a spokesperson from the Federation, the plans were unveiled in an attempt (i) to broaden the financing opportunities for farmers with minimal farmland, (ii) boost the productivity of agricultural products, (iii) bring sustainability to microfinance businesses operating in the rice sector. According to an official from MRF, they will host a presentation for companies interested in launchingmicrofinance businesses, which will cover the laws, regulations and procedures related to the industry, which were enacted in 2011-2012. Government microfinance programs in Myanmar are minimal. Stateowned Myanmar Agricultural Development (MADB) extends small loans of up to 100,000 Kyats per acre for rice growers and 20,000 Kyats per acre for other crops growers, with an interest rate of 8% per annum. However, the bank denies loans to farmers with farmland of 10 acres and above, believing they can mortgage their farmland for loans. The recently opened Myanmar Microfinance Bank (MMB), which is still waiting for the Central Bank’s approval to start operations, will only extend small loans of 20,000Kyats to 30,000 Kyats with an interest rate of 30% per annum.