Santiago, age 58, is an organic cacao farmer. He lives in the beautiful village of Red Bank, which lies between the South Stann Creek and Toledo. Santiago and his wife, Juana, raised their seven children, of whom five are still living with them. The other children have some sort of employment. His wife, Juana, spends most of her time attending to the children.
Santiago was inspired to plant cacao by the advisory of Agriculture from Guatemala, and his fellow farmers' advice. He manages his 1500 cacao trees up-to-date. Santiago holds outside employment, as well, which gives him limited time to properly clean his farm. Rain has been a challenge, he stated; the weeds grow too fast for him to control. His favorite of all is picking ripe pods and selling the product. Santiago also cultivates different types of crops for home consumption.
Santiago is requesting this loan to hire workers to clean his cacao trees. With this loan he would be able to have his cacao farm clean and continue his other employment, and his family will be happy at home.
Santiago's future goal is to expand with more cacao trees. He also wants to support his children financially, to get some level of education and find professional jobs.
About Maya Mountain Cacao
Maya Mountain Cacao (MMC) is a for-profit social enterprise that sources premium cacao beans from smallholder farmers in Belize. Founded in 2010, it generates income for marginalized farmers while promoting sustainable agricultural practices in the southern part of the country.
These cacao farmers use Kiva credit to invest in farm maintenance, improvement and expansion. For example, they might hire workers to help with the harvest or buy inputs such as better tools and seedlings.