The Debt Trap: ‘There’s No Hope, My Income All Goes to the Bank’

According to the National Bank of Cambodia, the country has more than 70 microfinance institutions and 170 rural credit operators.

Kraya Commune, Kampong Thom Province – Two months ago, Yim Rom, a villager from a remote area in Kampong Thom province, sold her land to off a paid debt to a microfinance institution.

Rom, 57, who now lives in Soung Sang village in Kampong Thom province’s Santuk district’s Kraya commune, told VOA Khmer that she borrowed $4,200 from a microfinance institution, or MFI, in May last year to buy a tractor.

“But I didn’t buy it. I spent the money on other necessities, like buying rice and food and my child was also sick,” said Rom. A laborer working on the cassava farms, she earns 20,000 Riel (about $5) per day.

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