July 2014—Access to finance can open up a world of opportunity for rural farmers. As part of Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative, USAID's Productive Agriculture Project works to strengthen Tajikistan’s agricultural sector to benefit small farm owners, their families and their communities. Helping farmers to obtain loans is one way the program empowers farmers.
The project connects local farmers to needed financial resources, which allows them to purchase modern equipment such as tractors to increase crop yields and their household income. The project provided grants to Tajik farmers for 25 percent of the tractor purchase price and helped them to secure loans from local banks. The terms of the grant required that the loan be at least 25 percent of the tractor price in order to establish a relationship and trust between the farmers and local lenders.
Ten years ago, Matluba Khushmatova’s husband passed away and she became the head of Onajon Farm in southern Tajikistan. With three children to clothe, feed and educate, she says she could not fall into despair. She gathered her strength and began working the 5 hectares near her house.
Khushmatova tackled the challenges one by one. Her old tractor often malfunctioned and was not powerful enough to plow her entire field before the start of the growing season. Consequently, she fell behind and would remain so the entire season. She never dreamed she would ever have enough money to buy a new tractor.
But that changed with the help of the USAID Productive Agriculture Project. Khushmatova enrolled in the voucher program and applied for a tractor grant. She met the program requirements and purchased a new MTZ-82 tractor for $20,800 in January 2014.
“I know that, with the new tractor, I will have a better harvest and better living conditions for my family,” said Khushmatova.
Despite raising three children alone, Khushmatova remains an active, hard-working farmer. Since purchasing her tractor, her life and her family's lives have changed. Now she is able to efficiently plow the entire territory on her farm and also earns extra money providing custom tractor services to neighboring farms. She is happy that her own productivity has increased and is proud to be able to help other farming families too.
As a woman able to overcome challenging rural conditions and life circumstances, Khushmatova is an inspiring role model for her children and her community, particularly women and girls.
The Productive Agriculture Project runs from September 2009 to September 2014.
Last updated: January 15, 2015