Agricultural bank asks farmers in Rakhine State to repay their loans by April 15
Farmers have been urged to repay their agricultural loans by April 15 this year, according to an official with the Myanmar Agricultural Development Bank (MADB) in Rakhine State.
The loans were disbursed to farmers last year for the cultivation of monsoon paddy.
But the number of farmers who have repaid their loans so far has fallen by 50%, said U Aye Thein, director of MADB in Rakhine State.
“I think the farmers will have a hard time repaying the loans,” he told DMG. “They are told to repay by April 15.”
U Aung Thaung, administrator of Magyi Kyun Tract Village in Ramree County, said letters indicating the latest date for farmers to repay farm loans were posted on power poles.
“The municipal authorities invited the administrators of the villages and asked them to alert the farmers to repay the agricultural loans. We posted the letters at the end of March, ”he said.
U Soe Naing, a farmer from Tin Nyo village in Mrauk-U township, said the postponement should be granted because farmers are struggling to repay their loans at the moment.
“The farmers in our village were unable to harvest their rice because of the clashes,” he said, referring to the past conflict between the Burmese army (Tatmadaw) and the Arakan army (AA) . “Farmers cannot buy paddy varieties to grow them during the coming monsoon, let alone repay loans. If possible, we want the bank to postpone the payment, ”he said.
The Committee representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) announced on March 12 that it has extended the repayment term of the monsoon paddy agricultural loans disbursed last year from April 15, 2021 to April 15, 2022, in consideration of the welfare of farmers to a a time when many facets of Myanmar’s economy have been hit by political turmoil across the country.
Farmers were also late in repaying their loans last year, with delinquent borrowers citing the farming challenges posed by the Tatmadaw-AA conflict. Farmers normally have to repay their loans by April 15, but last year the deadline was extended to May 30.
In 2019, more than 50,000 acres of farmland in seven townships in Rakhine State were reportedly left untilled, largely due to ongoing hostilities at the time. Last year there were approximately 40,000 acres of untilled farmland in Kyauktaw, Mrauk-U and Minbya townships alone.
From 2016 to 2019, paddy yields fell by 20%, according to a 2019 report from the All Arakan Farmers’ Union.