Farmers harvest tea buds (Photo: VNA)

Lao Cai (VNA) – Soft loans provided in the northwestern region helped lift more than 318,000 families out of poverty between 2011 and 2015.

The information was released at a meeting on September 21 to review credit provision in the northwest. The event was held in Lao Cai province by the Steering Committee for the Northwestern Region and the State-run Vietnam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP).

The region comprises 12 provinces and 21 western districts of the northern central provinces of Thanh Hoa and Nghe An, home to a large ethnic minority population with high poverty rate.

State funding through the VBSP, with low interest rates, has assisted local residents’ agricultural and business activities, the meeting heard.

More than 2.2 million poor and near-poor families and other beneficiaries in the region have received credit from the VBSP since 2011. Among them, more than 1.5 million households are from ethnic minorities.

The VBSP’s outstanding loans were roughly 32.19 trillion VND (1.44 billion USD) as of August 31, 2016.

From 2011 to 2015, preferential loans helped create 114,000 jobs, helped 121,000 students continue studying, and build 681,000 clean water supply and sanitation facilities along with 61,000 houses for the poor in the northwest.

As a result, the rate of deprived households there dropped to 14.97 percent in 2015 from 34.58 percent in late 2010, the report said.

At the meeting, participants admitted shortcomings in loan provision and suggested ways to improve social policy credit.-VNA