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Partner description:
Serendipalm Co. Ltd. in Ghana is a sister company of Dr. Bronner’s, the top selling brand of natural soaps in the U.S. It came from Dr. Bronner’s efforts to improve the sourcing of its agricultural raw material, especially palm oil.

Serendipalm, the first organic and fair trade palm oil project worldwide, has goals that include creating fair employment for both unskilled local people and professionals, engaging with local communities in supporting rural development and helping its supplying smallholder farmers improve the productivity of their lands.

Serendipalm also maintains a seedlings distribution program, offering seeds to farmers who want to replant their land with locally adapted oil palm seedlings of higher productivity. Seedlings are financed through zero interest loans, initially by Dr. Bronner’s, later supported by KIVA. Over 120,000 seedlings have been issued under the program and the ones planted first will produce commercially in 2019. To improve yields and sanitation of oil palm and cocoa fields, KIVA has supported over 300 Serendipalm Farmer-Members with over $25,000 as interest-free loans for farm tools and labor costs for the maintenance of their farms.

Since 2017 Serendipalm supports its farmers in planting new fields using highly diverse “dynamic agroforestry”. It offers the farmers higher yields, increased biodiversity and lower pest pressure. Serendipalm expects the number of interested farmers to increase to about 200 farmers by 2021. The higher cost of planting materials and the need for trained labor result in costs of establishment and on-going maintenance of approximately $ 1300 per hectare ($ 520 / per acre) require, an amount unaffordable to farmers without financing. KIVA and Dr. Bronner’s will both support farmers by providing that needed financing. 

A unique lending approach:
Serendipalm offers 0% interest loans to small-holder farmers to purchase more productive palm oil varieties. Once trees produce fruits, about 3-4 years after planting, Serendipalm will purchase and process the palm fruits, guaranteeing the purchase of the farmers’ harvests and offering them long-term markets. Kiva financing will enable Serendipalm to offer more loans and increase the production of palm oil on organic and Fair Trade terms.

Repayment Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Start Date On Kiva Apr 14, 2015 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $259,025 $1,539,534,945
Amount of raised Inactive loans $0 $366,300
Number of raised Inactive loans 0 106
Amount of Paying Back Loans $125,625 $165,139,470
Number of Paying Back Loans 208 203,348
Amount of Ended Loans $133,400 $1,374,029,175
Number of Ended Loans 689 1,807,819
Delinquency Rate 0.06% 18.05%
Amount in Arrears $40 $19,086,430
Outstanding Portfolio $70,823 $105,750,762
Number of Loans Delinquent 4 85,446
Default Rate 0.00% 1.72%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $0 $23,640,212
Number of Ended Loans Defaulted 0 58,924
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 1.12% 0.40%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $2,910 $6,565,612
Refund Rate 1.17% 0.61%
Amount of Refunded Loans $3,025 $9,388,800
Number of Refunded Loans 15 8,725

Loan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans to Women Borrowers 24.97% 77.16%
Average Loan Size $287 $391
Average Individual Loan Size $287 $604
Average Group Loan Size $0 $1,777
Average number of borrowers per group 0 7.9
Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country $3,500 $5,692
Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP) 8.21% 6.87%
Average Time to Fund a Loan 2.51 days 7.92 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $114.68 $49.43
  Average Loan Term 19.09 months 11.35 months

Journaling Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 451 947,182
  Journaling Rate 50.70% 42.80%
  Average Number of Comments Per Journal 0.00 0.03
  Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal 0.00 0.69

Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2020 data)

    This Field Partner Median for MFI's in Country All Kiva Partners
  Average Cost to Borrower 5% APR 53.00% PY 27.02% PY
  Profitability (return on assets) 64.6% 0.3% -0.78%
  Average Loan Size (% of per capita income) N/A 13.00% 11.51%

Country Fast Facts

Field Partner Staff

Lawrence Acquaye
Trudy Bronner
Kris Lin-Bronner
Rafi Loiederman
Jennifer Rusu
Les Szabo
Christina Volgyesi
Dickson Wenyonu