Credit cooperative helps farmers

Tshering Namgyal | Mongar 

Kinzang Deki, 39, from Phosorong village in Mongar earned around Nu 200,000 from selling vegetables. She had invested Nu 5,000 that she borrowed from the Mongar credit cooperative called Mongar Kuendrel Nyamley Tshogdhey.

Encouraged by the returns, Kinzang Deki who is a member of the 13-member Phosorong Tshesey Thuendrel Detshen took a second loan of Nu 25,000 five months ago after she cleared the Nu 5,000 borrowed last year.

She said with the new loan she bought 20 sacks of potato seeds from Dramitse and other vegetable seeds.

Last year, she earned around Nu 35,000 from selling vegetables and around Nu 170,000 from potatoes alone cultivated in her one and a half langdo dry land.

She is trying out a new variety of potatoes in a larger field and hopes to earn more from this venture.

This season, the Phosorong vegetable farmers’ group has also leased one and a half langdo of fallow land of a villager.

Kinzang Deki said that it was worth taking risks and investing in vegetable cultivation.

Similarly, Tshering Wangzom, a member of the 11-member dairy group in Phosorong, took Nu 25,000 loan to buy jersey cows. Adding to Nu 15,000 from her savings, she bought a milking cow that costs Nu 40,000 from Ngatshang gewog. Her cow gives around five litres of milk every day that helps her make the monthly repayment of Nu 2,500.

Tshering Wangzom said, unlike bank loans, the loan from the cooperative is much easier to process. “We don’t need to mortgage property, and we can get it anytime,” she said.

“It doesn’t take much time you get it instantly, and we only need another member to be our guarantor.”

The regional agriculture marketing and cooperatives office in Mongar helped the farmers to establish the credit cooperative in 2017 with 85 members. Its members are members of vegetable and dairy farmers’ groups from eight villages in Mongar gewog. Each member contributed Nu 1,000 as membership fees.

Each member contributes Nu 100 a month for saving. The cooperative started lending since 2018 with the maximum amount of Nu 5,000 with 10 percent interest per annum. The loan amount has increased to Nu 25,000 from this year. It has plans to raise the amount depending on their saving. Today,  the credit cooperative has Nu 600,000 in its saving account.

The cooperative’s chairperson, Sonam Zangmo, said more than 40 members had taken loans so far and none has defaulted on the repayments as of now.

Sonam Zangmo said most of the members took loans during the time of school admission to buy their uniforms and accessories. “Others buy cattle and vegetable seeds.”

HELVETAS project supported the cooperative with seed money of Nu 800,000 and Nu 500,000 for office establishment recently.

While present members are all from Mongar gewog, Sonam Zangmo said the cooperative is open to even members outside the gewog could also join in future.

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