A loan of $325 helped cultivating 2 hectares in corn and hot peppers.

Maurice's story

Born around 1978 in the district of Kessounou in the town of Dangbo in Bénin, Mr. Maurice B. is married and the father of 8 children, none of whom is enrolled in school. He is a farmer in the village of Hetin Sota where the hot springs of Dangbo are located, in the valley of the Ouémé River, and he is a member of the group GM Miwanou of Hetin Sota.

The inhabitants of this village work as farmers when the river level is low. Their land is rich and gives them a good harvest. Their principal crops are maize (corn), hot peppers, vegetables, okra, tomatoes, and manioc which are staple foods in Bénin. The problem for these people who dwell along the river is that when the river is in flood, they have no more work and spend all the money they earned during the last farming season on foodstuffs. When the waters recede, they have no money left to pay for laborers who are indispensible to them in sowing their land.

The custom of borrowing against the new harvest does not make them more secure and indeed leaves them worse off. They sell their future harvest at a laughable price to weathier persons so that they have the cash needed to do their farming. Weary of this practice, Maurice B. has requested a loan of 165,000 F CFA which will allow him to farm about 2 hectares, growing some of the aforementioned crops.

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Translated from French by Kiva volunteer Teresa Kramer

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