Yoma Bank and Maha Agriculture Public Co. Ltd. jointly announced the completion of a MMK 3.5 billion (USD 2.6 million) funding agreement on April 2nd, 2018 in support of Maha Agriculture Microfinance’s lending activities in Myanmar. The agreement will enable Maha Agriculture Microfinance to reach out to an additional 6,000 farming families, a sector which has been underserved by formal financial institutions.
Maha Agriculture Microfinance currently services 10,000 farming families across Myanmar, with an aggregate loan book of MMK 7 billion (USD 5.3 million). The new funding from Yoma Bank will see Maha Agriculture Microfinance deploying the funds to provide needed capital for farmers and micro enterprises to support their farming and micro business activities such as buying fertilizers, seeds, and agricultural inputs.
Mr. Matteo Marinelli, Chief Executive Officer of Maha Agriculture Microfinance said, “The agriculture sector is the backbone of Myanmar’s economy and employs 70 percent of the country’s labor force. Many of the farmers have little to no access to credible lenders. This drives them to borrowing from informal moneylenders with high interest rates, diminishing any profits. We aim to provide more small, unsecured loans to farmers, vendors and micro enterprises, which we believe will unlock the potential of the rural sector and small enterprises by providing much needed financing to increase productivity and raise incomes.”
“By issuing funding without conventional collateral requirements of land and buildings, Yoma Bank creates accessible funding for microfinance institutions, which will in turn help enable farmers with microloans. This has a trickledown effect, helping more farming families and their communities in rural Myanmar, reducing poverty in the country,” said Mr. Hal Bosher, Advisor to the Chairman and CEO of Yoma Bank.
“According to Teun van Vlerken, Credit Risk Consultant with Yoma Bank under the LIFT-supported Agribusiness Finance Program, the MFI product sets a new lending standard among Myanmar banks. ‘It is less relevant what assets an MFI can pledge, but rather what cash flow they expect to generate by accessing our funding. Letting go of fixed collateral requirements and engaging in responsible, cash flow-based lending is key to unlocking the potential of Myanmar’s emerging agricultural sector.”