In El Salvadore, CDF loans allowed the co-operatives to expand their agricultural practices and encouraged youth involvement in the production, processing and packaging of new crops of high potential.
In 2006, twelve employees and one delegate from Gay Lea Foods travelled to El Salvadore to work at three of the co-operatives that were being sponsored. Pleased by our visit, co-op members were surprised to see that we were there to work alongside them in the fields and orchards. We met some wonderful young people with amazing spirit. This is one of their stories:
Three years ago, Antonio Ramirez, 25, spent his days pruning coffee trees in Izalco, Sonsonate. His dream, however, was to own and manage a few beehives. But without the money or knowledge to start,, the small apiary remained a dream.
One day, Jesús Valencia, manager of the CDF partner ACODASJAR, arrived at the co-operative. Thanks to a personal loan at 6% interest, Antonio had the capital to start his own small business, along with two of his co-workers. Together they installed 43 beehives and were soon able to start selling honey at the local “youth gateway” market. During harvest time, they were collecting 200 bottles every 22 days.
Today, Antonio is able to pay back both principal and interest on his loan. He also has money left over for his personal expenses, and to improve his standard of living considerably.