Micro Lending and the Agricultural Project
As the price of food has soared here, those who were barely making it before are not making it now. It is tempting just to hand out food, and often we do. However, that is a short term solution. The best approach is for the local farmers to increase their production.
Toward that end, Gathering Hearts, in conjunction with Rotary Clubs here and in Tulsa has embarked upon a project called “micro lending.” Briefly, those who qualify to participate in the project are able to borrow a small sum of money which will allow them to buy enough materials to do a business project. Such loans may be repaid on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on the nature of the business. In our case the farmers will borrow enough to hire a tractor and plow, buy seeds and fertilizer. They will repay their loan when the crops are harvested.
Micro lending is a project overseen by Rotary Clubs, International and is operating successfully in a number of developing countries. To initiate the program, we are now conducting an experiment with varying planting techniques, seeds and fertilizer.
Thank you Sonrise Rotary Club of Tulsa and Dr. David Dyson for bringing this program within the reach of our farmers.
OCTOBER 2008 UPDATE – First harvest for the Agricultural Project!!:
The Sonrise Rotary Club of Tulsa, led by Dave Dyson, began May of this year, to help begin agricultural projects as a business for Honderan people.
In August, Flor’s corn plants were barely 2″ high. When we arrived back in Honduras, after nearly two months in the States, she had already harvested the first corn crop. This week we were treated to elote (ears of corn roasted over open fire) and mantuca, sweetened corn meal filled with chicken.
What a blessing this has turned out to be as the villagers united (30 farmers) for the sake of the whole village. Something we have desired for sometime. They were so excited. They wanted Gary to come out first day and taste their corn tamales they made with the corn just harvested. This is an answer to prayer for the people who could not purchase food when the cost of rice and corn went up last winter for the alternative fuel use of those crops.