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Loans help businesses, strawberry farmers in Anhui

Pub Date: 15-02-04 14:55 Source: CNTV.cn

Maanshan - a city of some 1.3 million people in Anhui province in Eastern China, located on the lower reaches of the Yangtze River. In September, China's State Council released a guideline to promote the Yangtze River economic belt into a new engine for the development of the whole region.

The main industries are iron and steel, electricity production, machinery and textiles - employing most of the workforce here. But there are also the farmers, who still remain a backbone of the economy.

Banks in Anhui province have been promoting rural lending services for farmers for years.

But more recently, the lenders have further simplified and broadened their loan procedures. Some have even launched promotional tours and door-to-door services to attract more clients.

One of the lenders is the Maanshan Rural Commercial Bank.

"We provide two types of loans to farmers, one is for production, the other is for consumption. Production includes starting their own businesses, planting or feeding livestock. Consumption covers building of homes and purchasing commodity goods," said Hui Jin, the President of Maanshan Rural Commercial Bank.

The lender was set up in 2009 and today has a network of more than 40 branches.

We're heading out to the countryside to see where the loans granted by the bank are going.

"Our bank is large. It covers 6 counties, 200,000 people, 50 families. We have lent 500 million yuan to farmers. The total lending volume is about 1 trillion," said Sun Yingrong, the branck manager of Maanshan Rural Commercial Bank.

Further afield, we meet Mr. Yao who runs a small agribusiness - called the "Four Seasons Fruit Company".

Thanks to bank loans, he has been able to build dozens of greenhouses where strawberries, apples and peaches grow year around.

"The borrowing limit used to be as low as 300 to 500 yuan. But now we can borrow as much as 500 thousand yuan. The process is short, and the service is good. It's very convenient to get funding now," said Yan Changlong, the general manager of Four Seasons Fruit Company.

Many of the borrowers are hopeful that with the financial support, some of their dreams may come true.

Mr. Wang's textile factory, in the same area, so far is producing clothes for big global brands such as Calvin Klein. But in the future, he wants to take the needle into his own hands.

"We plan to have a thousand workers in three years time,working in our factory and build up a brand. Money from Ma'anshan Rural Commercial Bank would help us to go further," said Wang Changwen, the general manager of Azalea.

Back in the capital Beijing, the World Bank is also active in targeting micro and small businesses and has worked with the Maanshan Rural and Commercial Bank.

The global lender's cumulative lending to China reached close to 54 billion US dollars for a total of 376 projects, as of June last year.

The World Bank says that assessing whether the beneficiaries have the capacity to service their debts is crucial.

The small bank loans might just be a drop in the bucket.

But for the people in China's rural areas, they pave the way for a better future.

Editor: Rita

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