Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cocaine and Microfinance � Kiva Stories from the Field

Cocaine and Microfinance � Kiva Stories from the Field:
CIDRE’s office in Chimore, the middle of Chapare’s coca-producing zone, offers significantly lower interest loans to farmers who pledge to forfeit their coca crop. Other incentives are thrown in: cheap or even free seeds for growing alternatives. But they aren’t handing out seeds for a crop that will give returns in several years; CIDRE’s loan officers grew up in Chapare and have learned what works and what doesn’t. They incentivize farmers with these low-interest, rewards-abundant loans from a perspective that they know is sustainable because they work in one-on-one relationships with the farmers to make it so. They want these farmers to be a part of a legal market; one that doesn’t risk being burned to the ground in an instant by the government or DEA. The loan officers also personally travel to these farms and walk around the hectares to ensure that there is no longer any evidence of coca production once the loan has been disbursed.

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