A loan of $1,200 helped farm rice on her land.

Karla Yvonne's story

Karla S. is young widow in the town of Salitre. After losing her husband, her parents gave her a small plot of land for her to start working on. She hopes that with this loan she will be able to adequately prepare her small farm for production. Her parents also helped her attain special agricultural training. She hopes this loan will allow her to apply her skills and be a successful independent woman.

Loan Use and Repayment

The loans in this sector will be used to create water deposits that will prevent flooding in the case of heavy rains or store water in case of droughts. They will also be used to treat the land prior to farming, plant the seeds and purchase fertilizer. The loan repayment schedule is also different from the typical microentrepreneur. Because farmers see the profits from their investments 5 or 6 months after making their initial expenditures, Mifex asks them only to pay 50% of the capital in the first 6 months of the loan. The rest of the debt must be paid in the seventh and final month.

Below is more information about Salitre compiled by the staff at Mifex when evaluating the potential of the sector for the Rural Finance Program.

Economy of Salitre

Salitre is a rural sector in the Province of Guayas which is known as the capital of Montuvios (montuvio is a cowboy) with approximately 30,000 inhabitants. The main economic activities are herding and agriculture, which make up about 80% of the economy. The infrastructure and basic services are poor, especially the roads and water services.

Salitre is highly dedicated to rice farming and cattle ranching. Rice is a crop that yields about every four months. In order to farm rice, the environment must be very humid and there must be a high volume of water. The lack of a structured water system makes it difficult for the small farmers to be highly productive. The best months for cultivating rice are early in the year during the rainy season on the coast of Ecuador.

Salitre is a national tourist attraction as many Ecuadorians visit the fresh water Salitre River. There are cottages, small restaurants and water attractions that people come to enjoy.

Access to Credit

There is not a single financial institution that provides services to the productive sector of the local economy. The only access to credit comes from loan sharks who charge extremely high interest rates averaging around 20% a month. The locals are also exploited by the intermediaries that buy their products in order to commercialize them in the city and to export abroad. These intermediaries buy crops in advance at very low prices, finance soil at extremely high prices and often provide emergency loans for even higher interest rates than the loan sharks.


Salitre is a dangerous area despite its rural location. There is a high incidence of robbery of cattle that results in many of the ranch owners owning weapons to protect their property. Because the police are not present in these areas, farmers and ranchers must apply their own laws and provide their own security. In some instances they have formed their own cooperatives and associations to have a community crime prevention force.

Salitre is in the lowlands of Ecuador and is vulnerable to flooding during the rainy season. In the event of a heavy rainy season, often at its worst when El Niño occurs, the rice farmers lose many of their crops. All this is due to a lack of infrastructure in the area.

Loan details

Lenders and lending teams

Loan details