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Financial services assist Qinghai farmers in spring plowing

Updated: Mar 19, 2020 Xinhua Print
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XINING — Wang Zhanfa was finally relieved after seeing trucks loading with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) seedlings drove to his village.

Wang is the Party secretary of Muchang village, the city of Haidong in Northwest China's Qinghai Province and also in charge of a TCM planting cooperative.

Long-awaited 10 tonnes of codonopsis pilosula and 8.5 tonnes of Chinese angelica seedlings from neighboring Gansu Province arrived in Muchang village on Tuesday morning.

"Affected by the novel coronavirus outbreak, the purchase of herb seedlings became a big problem in spring this year. Thanks to the financial and policy support of local banking institutions, we finally buy enough seedlings. More than 13.3 hectares of farmland has prepared for sowing," Wang said.

TCM planting is one of the pillar industries of Muchang village. Last year, the TCM planting industry alone increased the income of 36 impoverished households in the village by 1,200 yuan ($171) for each of them.

To further the development of TCM planting, the cooperative got a loan of 500,000 yuan from a local rural credit cooperative at the beginning of the year, which has been used for land letting, seedling purchase and farmers' payment.

Wang Zhanhu, from Xinyuan village, is also a beneficiary of the province's financial support.

The 47-year-old man owns around 4,666 square meters of land, growing wheat, potatoes and herbs. Wang applied for a loan of 50,000 yuan from a local bank through his mobile phone and spent the money on buying fertilizers, herb seedlings and paying for farmers who sowed seeds for him.

"The application process was very easy. During the outbreak, I got the loan in just two minutes through my mobile phone, which was really convenient," he added.

Ma Shenghong, 50, a villager of Tiejiazhuang village, the Hui-Tu autonomous county of Datong, has benefited from the local financial services over the past few years and had shaken off poverty. This year, Ma plans to rent more land to grow commercial crops and expand the scale of cattle and sheep breeding. He managed to get a loan of 200,000 yuan from the Rural Commercial Bank of Datong to realize his goal.

The Rural Commercial Bank of Datong has offered loans of 93.37 million yuan for the agricultural activities during the spring in the county, according to Liu Yuande, from the bank.

The Rural Credit Union of Qinghai said they offered loans of more than 1.7 billion yuan to 66,900 rural residents during the COVID-19 outbreak to assist them in spring farming.

The Qinghai branch of the Agricultural Development Bank of China has also offered loans of 20 million yuan to purchase and transport more than 7,880 tonnes of fertilizer to meet the farming demand.

The provincial banking and insurance regulatory bureau said that, as of March 14, financial institutions in Qinghai had given loans of over 2.6 billion yuan for spring farming activities.

Besides, the province has introduced a mechanism -- grassroots bank workers serve as village officials, in exchange, village officials work in banking institutions -- to work out targeted financial services for rural residents.

"Village officials who know the villagers well can help solve their financial problems, while bank workers can help control financial risk," said Ma Yucheng, Party secretary of Shizi village in Huzhu county.

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