Rice – the staple diet of Asia. Taken for granted by the western world where prices rarely fluctuate and where the constant supply of tiny white granules packed hygienically into sealed bags arranged neatly on dust free shelves for sale at any local convenient grocery store, for 55 year old U Sea Zaw of the village Lotaw within the district of Matupi, it is a very different story. Faced with an interest rate of 50% when attempting to borrow rice for planting during hard financial times, one can imagine that life is far more difficult for the local Burmese villager within the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
With the implementation of a project aimed at creating sustainable food security for such villagers aptly named PRICE (Poverty Reduction Initiative through Community Empowerment), U Sea Zaw and many others now have the ability to skip the middle man by borrowing a monthly savings amount through ADRA Myanmar’s PRICE project at a low interest rate for short term hardships until they are able to save money effectively for future rice purchasing. This leads to the enablement of paddy fields being planted on time and an increased surplus of available rice to feed local and international bellies. Through the PRICE project, beneficiaries were also provided with training in livestock, agriculture, fund management, basic book keeping and savings and loans training as well as manuals supplied for each training course to encourage sustainable future training sessions. As a result of the PRICE project, U Sea Zaw commented that “if ADRA did not help me, I would not be able to maintain proper saving practices and would continue to waste small amounts of money”. U Sea Zaw has learnt how to manage money effectively, avoid difficult financial times and save for the future.