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LENDING & CREDIT | Tony Chua, China
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China's Agricultural Bank's rural micro-credit loans expand rapidly

Lender achieved 23% micro-credit growth to $12.2bln from $9.93bln to help 15mln farmers.

Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) loaned 82.9 billion yuan ($12.2 billion) in micro-credit to Chinese farmers in the first three months of the year, compared with 67.3 billion yuan ($9.93 billion) in the whole of 2009.

Starting in April 2008, ABC's micro-credit business, which makes loans of 3,000 ($442.5)to 50,000 yuan ($7,375)in size, has helped 15 million farmers across the country, Lu Chuan, an ABC official told Xinhua Saturday.

Farmer Bu Nianhua, a grape grower, is happy these days. On his 8.5-acre grape farm he has seven breeds of grape. They all ripen at different times, between July and November and he earns an annual income of 200,000 yuan ($29,502).

But thanks to a 30,000 yuan ($4,425) micro-credit loan from the local ABC branch at the end of 2009, Bu has planted a new high-yield grape breed - Minicure Finger. The half acre of Minicure Finger grapes alone will bring him 75,000 yuan ($11,063) in income this year.

View the full story in Xinhua.

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