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Interest-free loans to help farmers

By Maram Kayed - May 05,2020 - Last updated at May 05,2020

AMMAN — The Agricultural Credit Corporation announced on Monday that it began receiving applications for interest-free loans.

In a statement, the General Manager of the Corporation Mohammad Hayari said that they have allocated JD10 million to “help farmers, especially those in the Jordan Valley, repair the damage that has been inflicted on their crops by the windstorm that took place in March.”

Granted by the Central Bank of Jordan, the “simple interest percentage” will be paid by the Corporation, not the farmers, Hayari stated.

However, the interest-free loans will only include farmers whose names are included in the damage inventory statements, which were prepared by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Mahmoud Oran, president of the Farmers’ Union, welcomed the announcement and called on farmers to register their names and the damages they were subjected to with the ministry as soon possible.

“Looking over the terms of these loans, I think the farmers could benefit a lot from them, especially that the windstorm was followed by the coronavirus crisis,” he told The Jordan Times in a phone interview.

The loans could be signed up for through the corporation’s branches in the Jordan Valley, Aqaba, Tafila and Karak. They can be benefited from over the next five years and with a grace period of two years.

Hiyari explained that the size of the loan granted will be linked to the extent of the damages shown in the disclosures.

The corporation set an amount of JD250 for each damaged steel structure in green agricultural houses, JD150-180 for damages in the plastic siding of the houses, and JD75 for each agricultural dunum of crops damaged.

Regardless of the damage rate, an amount of JD35 will be granted for each palm tree JD25 per dunum of fruit trees.

However, Oran said that farmers are demanding to be exempted from the requirement of submitting bank security cheques in order to obtain the loans.

“Many farmers already have two or three loans that they are paying off. Last year, thousands of farmers were wanted by the law for bank cheques or collateral insurance. Adding that requirement would discourage many from benefiting from these loans,” he added.

Hayari, in turn, said that “these conditions exist in the institution’s law and cannot be overlooked,” stressing the importance of these loans to farmers in the current circumstances to help them overcome their financial difficulties so they can continue producing.

The Agricultural Credit Corporation also decided to postpone the farmers' loan instalments for the months of April and May this year.

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