Sri Lankan women farmers get US support

July 14, 2009 (LBO) – A US-funded loan scheme has helped Sri Lankan women farmers overcome capital shortages, droughts, and other calamities that threatened their financial security and survival of farms, a US embassy statement said. “These modernizations increase the availability of micro credit loans, allowing the Women™s Co-op to expand its membership and benefit more women, including refugees.”

The Women™s Co-op helps eliminate difficulties faced by small and mediumsized enterprises, which are the backbone of rural economies, in getting adequate credit. The Women™s Development Services Cooperative Society (Women™s Co-op) had 60,935 members and provided over a billion rupees in micro credit loans to women farmers in the island in 2008, it said.

The Women™s Co-op has provided Sri Lankan women farmers with micro credit loans, as well as a safe place to deposit their savings, for 20 years.

It has been receiving financial assistance since 2008 from the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), which provides the support from a 2.5 million dollar grant by the US Department of Agriculture under the Food for Progress Act.

WOCCU™s support for the Women™s Co-op, which is supported by about 1.5 million