The Dak Ha district of the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum has to date established 61 “community banks” in 50 villages to help local ethnic minority groups overcome food shortages between harvests.

The “community bank” is similar a type of stockpile, where grains and other farm produces are stored at the end of the harvest and lent out to needy people at low interest rates. The bank collects interest “payments” every six months.

The model was launched in 2011 to mitigate food shortages during the inter-harvesting period where ethnic minority locals had previously been forced to harvest premature crops or borrow money from loan sharks.

Since then, the bank has lent out nearly 115 tonnes of paddy rice and over 67 tonnes of rice while some 900 million VND (41,275 USD) sourced from the Vietnam Bank for Social Policies and 300 tonnes of fertilizers have also been allocated in loans.

Dak La commune in Dak Ha district alone has set up six community banks thus far while hundreds of impoverished families in Ngok Reo commune have benefited from eight of the banks.

The “community bank” model has greatly contributed to local socio-economic development and ensuring social security among ethnic minority communities, said Party Committee Secretary of Ngok Reo commune Dinh Van Phat.

He added that the programme has helped many impoverished households improve their incomes and lifted themselves out of poverty.-VNA