Emerald Green Project exploited by those it sought to empower

The re-loaning of credit with interest by villagers, that originally received the credit from the Emerald Green Project, to residents in nearby villages has only heightened poverty in those areas, U Aung Naing Htun, Hluttaw MP for Danuphyu Township, stated during a session of Ayeyarwady Region Hluttaw.

“Upon observation of those villages where the project was implemented, the discrepancy between poverty and wealth has been rather augmented. Residents of villages that received loans from the Emerald Green Project have used the money to offer as loans, with enormous rates of interest attached, to residents of other villages within their village tract that did not fall under the project’s scope. It’s been quite beneficial for those opportunist money lenders, but it’s only sought to exacerbate the poverty of those in other villages,” stated U Aung Naing Htun.

He added that the project was only implemented to one in every ten village tracts in the region, highlighting how the project has failed to have much of a positive impact on reducing poverty levels because of the slipshod attitude of those implementing it. For him, the project will only be successful in fulfilling its intended objective if the public are involved in the project.

U Ba Hein, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation for Ayeyarwady Region, explained that the process of scrutiny of which villages were selected for the project was carried out by Hluttaw MPs, village elders, local administrative authorities, together with members of the project’s implementation committee.

“Impoverished villages needed to meet all the criteria of the project: to have the ability to implement agriculture and livestock programs; possess the rule of law; show an eagerness to be involved; to have good road infrastructure; and to be a safe and peaceful region. The revolving funds of the village project are solely for those villages named under the project. All of the remaining villages will become project villages [at some point in the future],” the minister clarified.

The Emerald Green Project is an initiative which emerged from a National Rural Development Strategy Framework Workshop that was held on 18 November 2014, while some Ayeyarwady Region Hluttaw MPs are quick to point out that oversight over the frameworks of the project will not result in a reduction of poverty in the region.

Source:Global New Light of Myanmar

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