Many people told Elizabeth that she couldn’t do it. Farming is too difficult for women, especially one on her own, taking care of three young children. But Elizabeth paid them no attention. Elizabeth Ruiz is a farmer and entrepreneur living in rural Piura, Peru. When Elizabeth was thirty years old, she received a hectare of agricultural land from her father as an inheritance. Elizabeth did not know how to work the land.

This was a very difficult time for Elizabeth, she was the oldest sister to her siblings, a mother, and did not have the money or supplies to pay an assistant to work her land. She turned to some lenders that said they could help her, but the high cost of the interest was something she feared. From the invitation of a friend who was part of an agricultural solidarity group, Elizabeth was introduced to Mentors Peru. She received training on how to best manage her crops and qualified for a loan. Her neighbors and relatives questioned her because she was a woman.  They did not consider a single woman could do her own agriculture work. They told her, “she should not be in the field.”

Elizabeth paid no attention to the comments and attitudes. She works every day from 5:00 am to 3:00 pm. She was able to hire a person to help her with the work.

“This business has given me the economic stability that my family needs. I have started another business as a result of the success of my farming. I have purchased a mill that works in the back of my house. I am currently planting one hectare of rice and I expect to obtain two hundred bags of product because the climate is so favorable. The biggest reward of my work is not the money but what I have become, and what I can offer my children. I am a woman who fights and wants to excel. Happiness is the ingredient for a successful business,” she says resolutely and with a smile.

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