Maria Juana Flores de Paulino: “My first loan was around 22 USD, which I used to buy material. In 2001 we lost our house, due to a severe earthquake. My uncle lent us money to buy material for the baskets and for months we worked from 5 AM till 11 PM to earn enough to build a new house. We moved here an built this house. With the home improvement loans of Enlace we managed to get electricity, so now we have light in the evening and we can work when it is dark. Thanks to the loans of Enlace we also could buy more material and the business grew.”
Ronald Araya Ureña (47) is married to Edith Naranjo Mena (43). They have two children and are both member of Coopeassa, a cooperative that recently has expanded their product range from solely coffee, to organic coffee, pineapples and bananas. Ronald: “We got a loan of 30,000 USD for a period of 3 to 4 years, to invest in pineapple plants.”
Gregoria Rodriguez Inca got her first micro loan 18 years ago, when she opened her restaurant in the market. At that time she was also knitting ponchos, so the first 90 USD she got as a group loan member was used to buy wool. Her current loan is 1,716 euro. She uses it to buy flour, sugar and other material to cook food for her customers. She works from 7-12 and from 17-20, every day, because those are the times her customers want breakfast and dinner.
Ernesto Arroyo and his 4 brothers and sisters started their flower growing company 15 years ago with 1,000 m2 of coronations. Four years ago they got a micro-finance loan, in order to invest in glass houses, seeds and irrigation sytems. They employ 25-30 people and provide labour to 200 seasonal workers during the three months of sowing. Two months before Mother’s Day they employ an extra 50 people.
Coffee cooperative Red Ecolsierra receives micro loans, to have the necessary working capital at their disposal to buy coffee from its members for a good price and provide technical assistance.
Cooperative AAC in Sumatra receives part of its working capital through a micro-finance loan.
Credit cooperative Qori wasi has 300 members, who all are selling their agricultural products at the Huancaro market in Cusco. The office is also located on the market, which is very convenient for the small scale farmers from the surrounding countryside.
Luis Franciso Galan Gonzalez has a loan of 600 USD for 6 months to buy fertiliser and pay the workers.
Domingo Medina Zacharias: “I get technical assistance to improve my production. I can get a loan to buy seedlings to grow more coffee. We receive 80 euros for 46 kilos of coffee, which is a good price. The assemble of the association always decides about the way the fair trade premiums are spent. 75% of the premiums is paid directly to us, 25% is being used for technical assistance, improving the coffee trees, improving the soil and providing us with pumps for the fertiliser."
At this 24 hour vegetable market farmers sell their products from the trunks of their tough working horses.
Claudío Garcia Castro is a widower with four children, who has been a farmer for 40 years and has worked with Bolivian Shoji since 1998. He harvests around 1500 kilo of black beans. Bolivian Shjoji is helping him with the seeds, a loan before harvesting (to pay the workers for example) and the transport of the harvest. “The big difference of working with Bolivian Shoji is that I have a guaranteed market. This year I didn’t need a loan, but I got 300 Bolivianos worth of seed.”