Analysis of Effective Factors on the Agricultural Loans' Spendings (Case Study: Khoy Township)



Introduction: Agricultural credit is among important factors for development. It capitalizes farmers and entrepreneurs to undertake new investments or adopt new technologies (Khandker and Faruqee, 2003: 197). Access to credit includes direct implications for household welfare and business performance, since credit could be used to increase the equity in the business (Briggeman et al., 2007: 1-2). Findings of Sadr’s (2003: 36) revealed that bank loans well affect capital formation and accumulation in Iranian agricultural sector in period of 1963-93. However, there are evidences that a significant portion of farmers, who receive agricultural loans, spend them in non-agricultural activities. In fact, agricultural loans are fungible and transformable because most of them are cash loans. Fungibility of agricultural credits in turn causes moral hazard. Moral hazard in financial markets occurs when the lender is subjected to the hazard that the borrower has an incentive to engage in activities that are unsatisfactory from the lender's viewpoint (Swinnen and Gow, 1999, 24). Agricultural loans play an important role in agricultural sector’s flourishing, thus surveying the viewpoints and attitudes of agricultural loans’ borrowers regarding to effective factors on desirable use of agricultural loans will be essential. This study has designed on the basis of theoretical model developed by the researchers.
Methodology: The inquiry aims to investigate spending channels of these loans and to determine the effective factors on their spending in agricultural sector. The sample (n=120) was selected by stratified sampling technique, from population including Khoy county farmers who had borrowed agricultural loans during the years between 2002-2007 at least once (N=4592).
Results: The study showed that the mean age of borrowers was 45 years, and the share of aged borrowers (about 21 percent) was 3.6 times of the young age group’s share (about 6 percent). Most of the farmers (47.9 percent) were illiterate or they had primary or informal educations; but 2.5 and 5.1 percent of them had agricultural and non-agricultural academic educations respectively. Average area of every plot of agricultural land was 1.35 ha. On the other hand, every plot of about 50 percent of the farmers was less than 1 ha. Of course, 90.9 percent of farmers had cultivated a plot of land which has been less than 2 hectares during the crop years of 2006-07, which had led to an inappropriate situation for agricultural investments. Agricultural loan’s per capita was $ 4.58 thousands. Only 37.8 percent of farmers have used their loans in agricultural activities completely. In contrast, 18.4 percent of them have spent the entire of loans in non-agricultural activities and the rest have faced with moral hazards partly. Most of the loans (62.5 percent) were agricultural input purchase loans considered as farm operating loans. Usually the amount of this type of credit is less than tied credit (credit component is- or will be - tied to specific project activities). The results of stepwise multiple regression method revealed that the independent variables including "the adjusted amount of loan", "monitoring times on the loan use" as well as the "area of the planted land in 2006-2007" have explained 60 percent of variances of dependent variable "amount of agricultural loans used in the agricultural activities". Therefore, it is suggested that the amount of granted loans must rise to such extent that they could support farmers financially to develop their production capacities and possibilities, especially with regard to economic deprivation of the borrowers. In this regard, increasing the share of tied loans, which are less fungible, can also reduce moral hazards and create new production possibilities. Of course, given to smallholding agriculture, it is suggested that high value loans lend only to eligible borrowers. In other words, loan officers must investigate that if the loan applicants could develop their production capacity with these loans. However, this recommendation doesnot mean neglecting small farmers (the majority of all of the farmers in Iran).
Conclusion: In order to alleviate poverty and extend social justice, lenders should pay special attention to them. However, besides, enabling the environment should be provided for effective use of the funds. Training, obtaining necessary inputs and services, making farming more profitable, etc., can help to the creation of enabling environment for desirable use of agricultural loans. Also because of significant positive effect of expert's monitoring on productive use of agricultural loans and given to the poor borrower’s screening mechanism, it is recommended that the loan officers increase the monitoring times after lending. On the other hand, given to significant positive effects of administrative ownership on spending loans in farming activities, land consolidation is recommended.