Hpa-An is capital city of Karen State where located in the Southeastern of Myanmar. It is also known as a native place of Karen ethnic people who earn the living by various agricultural and livestock and trading businesses.
Mar Mar Aye (56) years old is a traditional woman farmer who lives in southern Kauk Hlide region of Hpa-An. She inherited more than 10 acres of paddy fields from her parents. These fields are rich of natural fertilizer, Silty soil which is usually more fertile than other types of soil and good for growing crops.
Mar Mar Aye and her husband, Win Than are dedicated to cultivating seasonal crops such as corn, onion, green bean and Okra on the isle. But, even though they have been working so hard, their net income was only enough for the next cultivating season. But, Mar Mar Aye believed that if they could invest more and more, they will definitely get more profit due to the silty soil fields that guarantee productivity. That’s why Mar Mar Aye spent a few years in Thailand to work as a labor to earn more money.
In 2017, she heard about VisionFund Myanmar’s micro-finance services from their neighbor who was running their business with a loan from VFM. Mar Mar Aye decided to take out a loan because the interest rate is much cheaper than informal lender from outside.
She received 2 million Kyat (US $1,350) agricultural individual loan with 12 month loan term in April 2017. She used that loan money to set up a large garden trellis to grow the seasonal crop, calabash. And used the rest of the loan money to purchase the corn seeds. In return, she earned a huge profit of 3 million Kyat ($2,000) by selling the calabash. But, they lost some of their profit due to a decrease in corn prices. Anyway, they could start to build a wooden house and were able to cultivate seasonal crops in more acres.
In April 2018, Mar Mar Aye received 3 million Kyat as a second loan after credit officer checked on their agribusiness’s progress. She used half of the loan money to buy crop seedlings and half she saved for emergencies and unexpected condition. When the workload of cultivating had increased, they hired more daily laborers.
Unfortunately, she lost some corn fields before the harvest time due to flooding. Even though Mar Mar Aye faced big damage to her business, she did not give up easily and decided to start the quail farm with the rest of money she had saved.
In January 2019, she built a large quail farm and bought 1,500 quails. When the adult quails are ready to lay the eggs after a few months, they collected approximately 300 eggs per day and sold at the market with 30 Kyat (1$) per egg. As a result, Mar Mar Aye now has a daily income source besides her seasonal crops.
For many years, she has worked really hard to support her family and is really proud for her effort and result.
“My youngest daughter is now studying at Hpa-An university for second year. Among eight children of mine, only two daughters can reach the university level education. Elder one is already worked at regional education government office as a clerk” she said proudly.
Mar Mar Aye already has the plan if she received the next loan in future.
“My plan is to expand my quail farm business, now we are raising 1,500 quail and I want to put next 1,500 quail as a second batch. I hope I will received more amount of loan since I has been working only with VisionFund”.