In addition to his agricultural activity, Pedro works at a local Orange producing factory as a harvesting labourer in order to supplement family income. The money he earns helps pay bills for electricity and to buy food. The rural zone where Pedro 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. Pedro 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 Pedro 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 Santa Elena 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 Tabasco, Habanero, and 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 labourial and logistical tasks associated with production will be carried out by Pedro with the help of his family members in the region of Santa Elena de Los Chiles, located in the Northern Region of Costa Rica. Pedro will need roughly one year before his peppers will reach maturity and be 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 produce (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 Santa Elena, thus ensuring that their products will reach market.
In general, the work day is divided into mornings and afternoons. In the morning, the domestic tasks are carried out such as cooking, cleaning and sending the children to school. Afternoons are generally dedicated to harvest and planting, working the land as needed. Pedro spends some days working as a labourer in the nearby Orange producing factory, but this work is sporadic. Pedro says that he has had difficulty obtaining access to both financial services and technical assistance with respect to farming. This has made it difficult for him and his family to reap the benefits of maximizing their potential productive output on their land.
The collaboration of Fundación Mujer and PROPICA, represents a unique opportunity to Pedro, his family and 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, Pedro 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.
About Fundacion Mujer:Fundación Mujer is an organization specializing in the financial and personal development of female entrepreneurs in Costa Rica. They seek to reach underserved populations that may include indigenous communities, immigrants, refugees, victims of domestic violence or women living with HIV/AIDS. Fundación Mujer offers courses in both business and personal development, as well as training in concrete skills such as sewing and other crafts.
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