Miguel and Milagros are farmers from Piura, Peru. They harvest rice, corn, and chileno beans. They have been doing this for almost five years, using the money that Miguel earns from his construction business as capital to buy the seeds. Rice takes about five months to grow, while the corn takes six months, and the chileno beans take three months. They are able to harvest each product two times a year. They sell their rice and corn to the nearby mill so it can be processed into flour. Milagros also makes and sells chicha de jora, a fermented corn drink that many people in the area drink. She runs this small business this from her house. When we asked her how she gets her clients, she replied, Todos por aquí ya saben que vendo la chicha, “Everyone here knows that I sell chicha.”
Miguel and Milagros shared that Mentors Peru has helped them in more ways than one. It first taught them how to save their money so they could invest more in their business. It also helped improve their quality of life. Instead of using the money from Miguel’s construction job to buy the seeds this year, they were able to use the loan provided by Mentors Peru to finance their business. With the loan, they bought a larger quantity of seeds as well as extra chileno beans to grow for the three months following rice season. This made it so they could use the money that Miguel earned from construction to build brick walls for their house to replace the straw walls they had before.
This summer they have been working with SEED interns Maddy and Elizabeth. The on-going business mentoring is helping them take their business to the next level.