In addition to his agricultural activity, Lumbi spends some days working as a labourer in the nearby orange producing factory in order to supplement family income, but this work is sporadic. The money he earns helps pay bills for electricity and buys food. The rural zone where Lumbi and his family live is one of the few places in Costa Rica without running water; the family must pump water from a nearby well as needed. Lumbi is working hard towards the sustenance of his family, striving to reap the maximum benefits from his land and his labour.
Although this is an individual loan, the community in which Lumbi and his family live is very close-knit and interdependent. Neighbours help and support one another by sharing experiences and expertise acquired over the years. All individual members of the Medio Queso 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 labour and logistical tasks associated with production will be carried out by Lumbi with the help of his family members in the region of Medio Queso de Los Chiles, located in the Northern Region of Costa Rica. Lumbi will need roughly one year before his peppers will reach maturity and be ready for harvest. In the past, it has been difficult for Lumbi to access financial services and technical advice regarding farming practices. This has been a factor that has hindered his ability to be as productive as possible.
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 Medio Queso, thus ensuring that their products will reach market.
The collaboration of Fundación Mujer and PROPICA represents a unique opportunity for Lumbi, his family and community. By offering a source of start-up capital and a guaranteed client to purchase what is produced, there is a chance to improve family and community standards of living. Above all, Lumbi wants to take advantage of the current opportunity that has been presented; he wants to profit from this collaboration and see improvements in his neighbourhood.
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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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