A new decree has raised the limits for agricultural and rural development loans, excluding mortgages.

Decree No55/2015/ND-CP, issued this week and going into effect on July 25, states that banks can lend up to 3 billion VND (142,850 USD) to a union of co-operatives dealing in aquaculture or offshore seafood exploitation.

A household involved in a seafood cottage industry can borrow up to 2 billion VND (95,240 USD), while a household or an individual growing industrial crops or perennial fruit trees can seek loans amounting to 200 million VND (9,520 USD).

A household or individual involved in agricultural production and related business activities can secure loans worth 50 million VND to 100 million VND (2,380 USD to 4,760 USD).

An old decree, which has been valid since 2010, stipulated banks' lending caps of 500 million VND (23,800 USD) for agricultural co-operatives and farm owners and 200 million VND for households dealing in farming services.

It also fixed a maximum lending amount of 50 million VND for individuals or households associated with agriculture, forestry, pisciculture and salt production.

VnExpress online said the changes were based on the State Bank of Vietnam's (SBV's) suggestions, which were aimed at easing rural credit, and the fact that costs in some of these cottage industries had prompted significant demand for capital.

Reports before the National Assembly stated on June 11 that agricultural and rural credit amounted to some 798 trillion VND (38 billion USD) nationwide at the end of May, an increase of 7.2 percent over last year-end. The loans for this prioritised sector represented 19.3 percent of all loans in the country.

According to the SBV, the overall credit growth of the domestic banking system this year reached 4.8 percent as of May 28, significantly higher than the 1.3 percent recorded during the same period last year.-VNA