Improving living conditions in the countryside requires making agricultural income profitable. In order to secure the next harvest and its sale, and to increase income in times of economic recovery, the MOCCA programme, together with the Ecuadorian government, is making efforts to improve the management of the finances of farming families.
Keeping accounting records and keeping track of income and expenses may seem like a basic step for personal finances, but it is definitely critical when your business depends on it. This is how Eugenia Zambrano Loor, a cocoa, coffee and banana producer in Manabí, felt after participating in BanEcuador's financial literacy workshops with the support of the Maximising Opportunities in Coffee and Cocoa in the Americas (MOCCA) programme, led by Technoserve and Lutheran World Relief, with USDA funding and implemented in Ecuador by Rikolto.
"We have learned the skills to manage an investment. We learned how to distribute our income and expenses economically, and how we can invest and generate even more income in different areas, keeping accounting records first", she says, adding that the experience has been very important to have more elements with which to evaluate profitability.
The aim of the Ecuadorian government is to implement a new free training, technical assistance and rural extension service. To this end, the PIATER project ("Project for the Innovation of Technical Assistance and Rural Extension Services") of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and BanEcuador have joined forces to strengthen their credit service with competitive rates (1% annual interest, with and without guarantor).
"With the excellent coordination we have done with MOCCA and BanEcuador, we have provided training to improve the financial and administrative capacities of our producers. It has been a success and for that reason we have expanded coverage nationwide to continue the transfer of knowledge on financial issues." Jimmy Ávila Jaramillo | National Manager of PIATER.
Mariana Burgos was another of the producers who benefited from the MOCCA-BanEcuador alliance. She received USD 10,000 and used it to maintain her 20 hectares of cocoa. Since her friend told her about the credit for women entrepreneurs (Crédito Super Mujer Rural, promoted by BanEcuador), she accessed the amount in 2 months.
"We invested in better managing our cocoa farm, and now we have a better production. Together with my husband, we provide education for my son, we pay the credit, and we have a better quality of life".
From Cantón de Sucre, Jennifer Vega, a producer and user of the bank's services, comments that "the workshops were very useful, because they gave us guidelines on how we can invest our income. In the agricultural area, we have to see how to have better crop management and good economic financing". Antonio Chumo, from the same area, says "I will apply what I have learned by training other producers in the area so that they can grow new crops".
Thanks to the alliance between MOCCA, BanEcuador and Piater, workshops have been held with members of cocoa and coffee associations and a strong media campaign has been launched. In these spaces, producers were informed about key aspects for managing their income, costs and expenses. They were also provided with information on financing lines with preferential rates. Once BanEcuador grants credits, technicians are assigned to provide technical assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, as well as financial literacy training by BanEcuador.
MOCCA is a 7-year initiative funded primarily by the US Department of Agriculture through their Food for Progress programme, which aims to increase agricultural productivity and trade. TechnoServe is the MOCCA Consortium Leader and leads the coffee programme, while Lutheran World Relief leads the cocoa programme.
Photo credits: PIATER / Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry.
Hand in hand with the public and private sector, the MOCCA iniciative funded by USDA was executed in Ecuador by Rikolto for the period 2019-2023 (first semester). Follow MOCCA's next steps in their global website: https://mocca.org/en/