A loan of $6,000 helped to buy local plantain seed stock and cover the costs for their planting, maintenance, and harvest.

Aristobulo's story

Embera Puru is a 200 person Emberá indigenous community in Panama’s Darien province. Embera Puru’s sister community Arimae has been working with Planting Empowerment for more than six years, and Embera Puru is partnering with Planting Empowerment to maximize the agricultural output of their land in a sustainable and profitable way. Embera Puru will use the $6,000 loan to buy locally-sourced plantain seed stock and cover the costs for their planting, maintenance, and harvest. With the proceeds from the plantain harvests they will finance community development projects, especially those related to the preservation of their local culture, such as traditional dances and artisan groups. The proceeds will also support legal efforts to secure their reservation.

Aristobulo lives with his wife, kids, and grandchildren in Embera Puru, and is part of one of the founding families of the community. He was a community leader, and has been an advocate for the plantain project since it was proposed. He believes the partnership is ideal for the community. Normally, the owner of the land works his own parcel as a full-time time job, without formal training or inputs like fertilizer, other workers, etc. Our associates are able to work their land with otherwise inaccessible funding, so the scale of their agriculture is greatly expanded.

The residents of Embera Puru are ancestors of the Chocó people who migrated from the Chocó region of Colombia during the 16th century, and subsisted for generations as hunter-gatherers and fishermen. Today, the community members depend mostly on subsistence agriculture and day labor to put food on the table. Embera Puru is part of a network of indigenous reservations that once stretched for hundreds of thousands of hectares in the Darien. Over the past 30 years however, their land holdings have declined sharply as illegal logger and cattle ranchers encroach into their reservation in search of tropical timber and pastureland. Embera Puru was established as an outlier community to guard against further encroachment of the reserve from the Agua Fria boundary.

Loan details

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Loan details