The following is an interview, conducted by the T-Fish staff, of the leader of a farmer's rights NGO in China. Learn more about this organization here!
T-Fish: Hello everyone, this is the Transparent Fish broadcasting office; this is our 11th interview. Transparent Fish is committed to providing free technology, marketing, fundraising, and management consulting services to help NGOs. Today, it is our honor to have Mr. YangYunbiao from NanTangXingNong Coorperation, from FuYang, Anhui Province. First, let’s have Mr. Yang give us a brief self-introduction.
Mr. Yang: I’m from a village in FuYang, Anhui Province. Right now, about over 400 people from 4-5 villages have joined this cooperation.
T-Fish: Why did you establish such a cooperation?
Mr. Yang: It’s very interesting that every group in this society has an organization helping them to protect their rights. For example, whether they are women, workers, or consumers, they all have their own organizations. But when farmers’ rights get transgressed, there’s no one who stands up and says something. It once crossed my mind that I could start an organization to protect the rights of the farmers. With this thought, I gathered some people who shared my views, and we went to the local government to register our organization. I was surprised to find out that there was no law in China to support such kind of initiative. It was not until 2007 that China finally had laws to protect farmer's rights.
T-Fish: Through the Internet forum about your programs, I noticed that all of them aim to promote the general well-being and the esteem of the farmers. In particular, a small loan program caught my attention. Can you briefly describe this program?
Mr. Yang: Well, with certain policies aimed at reducing the loans of the farmers from the government, such as reducing the the taxes for farmers, we thought we could do something to provide some entertainment for the farmers. Therefore, we established different kinds of performances for the farmers. Then we thought perhaps our cooperation could do something to promote farming productions. So we implemented an idea to buy fertilizers as a group. With one person buying fertilizers, the cost can end up being very high, because that person can only buy fertilizers from a local store; but, with a group, we can purchase directly from the producer, therefore reducing the cost. Another thing is that if we bought something fake, we have a larger voice to protect our right. After seeing the benefits of buying as a group, we started giving out small loans, which is our focus now.
T-Fish: Can you tell us more about the framework of these loan programs?
Mr. Yang: When banks refuse to loan out money, you know, it's tough for the famers to continue their production. So we started gathering money from farmers who were doing a bit better, and then loaned the money to those who were in need. This has helped many people, including those who raise pigs or run small grocery stores.
T-Fish: The loan program has indeed been successful, and it is now sponsored by TFish. In what areas has the T-Fish platform helped this program.
Mr. Yang: First of all, the T-Fish has really opened our eyes to all the programs that are ongoing in other parts of the country. It helps us to assess what we can do to continue to benefit the society. Although we have ideas of how to do something, when it came to the details for execution, T-Fish has offered valuable guidance.
T-Fish: Thank you for your support and for affirming our platform. Now any thoughts with our transparent finance support plan?
Mr. Yang: We are also participating in the transparent finance support plan. Now with hundreds of families’ participation, it is no longer an individual initiative but a public one. Now we know how to use the Internet to let more people know about our programs, the framework of our programs, and other valuable information. Before, we simply didn't have the resources. As farmers, we really hope that this program can improve everyday and draw more people’s attention.
T-Fish: And we hope that more and more people will hear about your organization, and that it will continually improve as well.
Mr. Yang: And we welcome you to visit our village.
The original interview can be accessed here. It was transcribed and translated by Tfish staff Shishi Ma, and edited by U.S. intern Sarah Chang.
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