John is a hard-working farmer who resides in Southern Asia. Despite all of the time and energy he puts in crop fields today, he only makes two dollars. He has to spend $1.50 on food that he shares with his wife and two kids and medicine for his ailing dad. He looks at the leftover fifty cents thinking about how he is going to pay for rent, insurance, and education fees for the kids. He has no extra money for a nice vacation by a beach, a Saturday night entertainment, or a dream of starting a small business.
John is not the only person who struggles to support his family. According to the UN, nearly 850 million people still live in extreme poverty.
This is when the idea of microfinancing comes in. Microfinancing is a system in which an institution provides small loans for local entrepreneurs or farmers. The aim of microfinancing is to reduce poverty by allowing people to build individual savings and hence increase standard of living. When villagers receive their grants from an institution, people can have sufficient capital to start a business or upgrade their agricultural equipments. They, as a result, can earn more money from mass-producing agricultural goods or operating a profitable business, instead of live on a minimum salary. Once people are making more money, they can build individual savings that can lead to better education for kids and a better living standard.
This year, CACTES is partnering up with BESO Foundation to start a microfinancing program in the Wanteete village of Uganda. Our goal is to help more struggling farmers like John build some savings. We have put $1000 as a starting-fund investment towards agricultural improvement in the village.
So far, we have used $500 to help out three farmers. The following is the profile for each farmer:
1) Nantale Jane and her pineapple-growing business: 650,000 Ugandan Shillings/ $200 US
Jane has planted 3 acres of pineapples and expects to raise a total of 10,890,000 Ugandan Shillings from the yields in the next two years. There is local demand in Wanteete, Uganda for pineapple in both fresh fruit and juice form. There is some demand for Ugandan pineapple in Kenya, Rwanda and South Sudan as Ugandan pineapples are sweeter and less acidic.
2) Achieng Margret and her dairy farming business: 510,000 Ugandan Shillings/ $150 US
The dairy processing industry posts one of the fastest growth rates in Africa. CACTES has given a microloan of 510,000 Ugandan Shillings to Achieng Margret of Uganda to shift from local cows to dairy farming.
Margret will eventually be able to produce 5-10 litres of milk per day and these will yield about 18,150-36,300 Ugandan shillings per day thus boosting her income so that she can take care of her 3 children. Her long-term goal is to buy a piece of land so that she can raise more cattles.
3) Namutebi Hadijja and her maize-growing project: 510,000 Ugandan Shillings/ $150 US
In Uganda, maize is recognized as the best food for intercropping, thus saving land. CACTES has invested 510,000 ugandan shillings in Namutebi Hadijja's maize-growing project.
Hadijja has grown one acre of maize and she expects to yield over 2 tones of maize corns and she expected to fetch an amount of 2,178,000 ugandan shillings from the yields in the next 3 months. The crop is resistant to major pests and yields and can be used to produce maize flour or simply eaten as maize corns. The crop is for both home consumption and business