Posts tagged micro finance

Supporting Fair Trade Coffee through Micro Finance

By Erica

I have previously written posts on both fair trade and micro finance, and the pros and cons that go hand-in-hand with both.  Fair trade is often a topic riddled with controversy surrounding what is actually fair trade and is it actually supporting who it needs to support.  Often farmers who are actually fair trade may struggle with start up costs or wind up paying hefty fees to support a fair trade or organic status.  This often winds up in a familiar scenario of the big guys once again winning out due to their more substantial finances.  However, a new consumer finance model called Grow Ahead is looking to solve this problem and support small scale coffee farmers through consumer lending.  Farmers need money to plant/grow their crop, but if they don’t have left over money from last year, and they have not yet turned any profit this year, they struggle to make that initial investment into this years crop.  This is where Grow Ahead comes in.  In a nut shell, they ask you, the consumer, to loan money to the farmer.  So just say you loan $25 dollars to a farmer through Grow Ahead.. your loan, along with the loans of others, lets this farmer plant his crop.. once the crop has been harvested, and the farmer has sold his crop, you get your loan back.. pretty cool!!  Click here to check out their site!

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Micro Crediting..More sustainable than you think..and more girl power than you think

By Erica

Micro Credit.. loosely defined as the loaning of money to poverty stricken people to help them start their own small businesses, has received its share of good and bad publicity.But, India is leading the move towards micro crediting as a tool for great change, raising the standards of living in its poorest regions, one loan at a time.  Indian loans are small in size, lower interest, and are only given to those who can prove they can manage their money properly.

From a Girl Power perspective, micro crediting is primarily done with Indian women.  Not only have they proven to be better at spending and saving, but in a man-driven society it is giving women a much needed stab at equality.  No longer are men the primary bread winners, allowing women power within their households to make decisions about their own and their children’s future.

From a sustainability perspective, many of the recipients of micro credit loans use the money to farm.  Because they do not have the money to buy hybrid seeds, chemicals and pesticides, they have reverted to traditional farming, producing organic goods.  Large scale agriculture, modeled after Western farming, were seeing their land dry up and yield very little, but these ladies and their little farms were flourishing.  Why? Turns out chemicals and pesticides are bad for the land..who knew.  This drying up of the land was sped up in India due to the heat, but let’s see it is a warning here in North America, if we do not start farming more sustainably, we will face the same fate.  These women are now being invited to agri conferences around the world to share their sustainable techniques. Girl POWER!!

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