The sincere efforts to manage community forests (CF) have started to pay dividends for the farmers. Active members of the Community Forest Management Group (CFMG) in Lhuentse have benefitted from the community forest.
The CF fund lending scheme, whereby the CFMGs are given an opportunity to access the low interest credit facility is the main attribute to this enterprise.
Three different people who invested in three different ventures with one thing in common; their investments were made possible with credits made available from the funds generated by the Zhasela Community Forest
Traditional methods to grind maize which is highly time-consuming and labor intensive impinges on the prevalent acute shortage in the farm.
This will now be a thing of the past as Sonam Norbu’s maize-grinding machine reverberates throughout Bragong village.
The overall procuring, transportation and installation aspects will be facilitated by the concerned agencies.
The other beneficiary Tshewang Rinzin’s house is one among the clustered houses on the lap of the mountains.
If wealth or the living standard of the people is measured in terms of whether one’s house is roofed with CGI or not, Bragong village will fare very well.
Tshering Dorji’s cattle will have quality year round grass. With fencing to be carried out soon, the existing pasture will be improved and maintained properly. The pasture seeds and technical backstopping will be rendered by the relevant technical person.
Since the access to credit facilities is a major bottleneck in rural areas even if one is willing to take up innovative ventures, CF fund lending scheme attempts to resolve such problem. The loan sharks who rob villagers of their miniature monetary strength, compell them to slide further down the poverty ladder.
The CF fund lending scheme is an initiatives of the CFMGs to revolve the CF-generated fund rather than hoard it. Under it groups can avail Nu 50, 000 soft loans from the CF fund at the nominal interest rate of 5% per annum. The installment can be deposited at their convenience but not delayed too long.
As of now, two CFMGs has availed the highest ceiling of Nu 50,000 each and the lowest amount credited is Nu 3000 for buying basic household necessities such as cooking oil, salts and clothes.
As of now, a total of Nu 197,000 has been disbursed as CF fun lending to the CFMGs. Within one year, it would fetch an interest of Nu 10, 710. However, interest isn’t the ruling rationale behind the scheme. The bigger principle was opening up door for easily available credit service at doorstep.
The need for an appropriate by-law has been deemed important with commencement of such services by the CF. This framing of the by-law is aimed toward minimizing or reducing the loan defaulters, thus ensuring the sustainability of the CF fund.
The formulation of the by-law will ensure equity in availing such lending. The drafting of such a by-law has been facilitated by the Gewog Forest Extension/Dzongkhag Forestry Sector in order to streamline and regularize such lending. The scope of expanding the loan to non-members is also being revised.
All the decisions and consensus in this regards has been taken by the CFMG during the annual general and work planning meeting.