Valentin is a dedicated farmer who plans to focus his efforts on the planting and harvest of cayenne peppers. He works in cooperation with his wife to strike a balance between accomplishing the daily tasks associated with agricultural production and the completion of domestic responsibilities. The land they work is their own. In addition to his agricultural activity, Valentin works at a local orange-processing factory as a harvesting laborer in order to supplement the family income. The money he earns helps pay bills for electricity and food.
Although this is an individual loan, the community in which Valentin and his family live is very close-knit and interdependent. Neighbors help and support one another by sharing experiences and expertise acquired over the years. All members of the Coquital community are dedicated to the improvement of living conditions for the region as a whole.
This loan will be used to finance the production of cayenne peppers. Specifically, the loan will be used to finance the purchase of a variety of seedlings and necessary agricultural nutrients, fertilizers and chemicals in order to ensure a healthy harvest. All labor and logistical tasks associated with production will be carried out by Valentin with the help of his family members. Valentin will need roughly one year before his peppers reach maturity and are ready for harvest.
Piper and Capiscum Processors Compañía Agrícola Industrial, or PROPICA, is an international buyer and seller of chili pepper and ground pepper products. In cooperation with Fundación Mujer, PROPICA has guaranteed to purchase the agricultural products (the peppers) that are to be produced with the help of this loan. PROPICA acts as a guaranteed client for small agricultural producers in the area of Coquital, thus ensuring that their products will reach market.
In general, the work day is divided into mornings and afternoons. In the mornings, the domestic tasks are carried out such as cooking and cleaning. Afternoons are generally dedicated to harvesting, planting, and working the land as needed. Valentin spends some days working as a laborer in the nearby orange-processing factory but this work is sporadic.
Valentin says the main factor that has stood in the way of increasing his production levels has been the Costa Rican government and various other institutions. Formal banks, lending agencies and government bodies have failed to recognize the producers of the Coquital region as legitimate producers, worthy of financial and governmental support and services.
The collaboration of Fundación Mujer and PROPICA represents a unique opportunity to Valentin, his family and his community. By offering a source of start-up capital and a guaranteed client to purchase what is produced, this is a chance to improve family and community standards of living. Above all, Valentin wants to take advantage of the current opportunity that has been presented; he wants to profit from this collaboration and see improvements in his neighborhood.
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In Costa Rica, funding for microfinance institutions is hard to come by, and many institutions find themselves having difficulty growing and reaching all the demand for loans that exist. Kiva works with Fundacion Mujer because it attends a very marginalized population in Costa Rica, with a specific focus on women. In addition to the loan, Fundacion Mujer provides specialized training programs for their borrowers on everything from computer classes to salon training. Because of the difficulty in obtaining capital in Costa Rica, Fundacion Mujer cannot serve all the women that need loans. Therefore Kiva plays a unique role in helping Fundacion Mujer grow its portfolio and reach borrowers it otherwise would not be able to.
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