A loan of $1,075 helped purchase seeds and increase her cacao production.

Maria De Las Mercedes's story

Quinindé is a district in the province of Esmeraldas that provides various products to cities in Ecuador like banana, cacao, coffee, African palm and products from the forest and commercial activity is also a daily way for the majority of the inhabitants to get ahead and even more so after the roads to get to town have been expanded which has permitted a lot of commercial traffic, especially on the weekends when all types of businessmen come to offer their products at the market to potential customers who are usually people from the countryside.

Tourism has also been an important activity in this area because the ecosystem has a lot of different places to be visited like waterfalls, fresh water, and woods that have flowers and animals that surround the city. In various sectors of the province, there are families that work in agriculture and a lot of the time their work is not valued demonstrated by the fact that companies pay very low prices for the fruit of their labor, nevertheless, there is always food present. In the city where María lives, a woman who is 41 years old and has two children who go to high school. She herself finished secondary school and the biggest obstacle that she has faced is the migration of her husband Hector to Spain. The necessity to find a better quality of life separated this family but their bond remains strong, being formed from the beginning, and it is this bond that has kept them together despite being so far apart.

María, since she was very little, learned about the agricultural industry with various plants and 10 tears ago she undertook this activity with her husband but currently she has been developing their business on her own, with a little help from her children. Her experience in the business has given her very good results and every time she has expanded with new products. Every day between 8 and 10 hours, with the care and attention of her children, María,takes care of her fields and prepares those that are ready for market. She also tends to her clients in the best way possible in order to give a certain dignity to her work.

Cacao is a very demanding sector to work in and this is why María is applying for a loan to increase her production of this plant, that is desired internationally. It was with Fundación Alternativa where she found support that she needed as well as all the consultation she received from the executive that visited her personally and it really helped her to improve in various areas of her business. María hopes that this loan will support the growth of her business and that she will be able to earn more which will help her give her children the professional education that she was not able to get.

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Translated from Spanish by Kiva volunteer Kristin Connor

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