Ana Elvia Parra, farmer and client of Accion partner Finamerica
Ana Elvia Parra, client of Accion partner Finamerica, beats the sun out of bed each day in order to make a dent in her lengthy to do list before falling back into bed at 9 p.m. Undeterred by hard work, she explains, “life has hit me hard but I don’t complain. Here today, gone tomorrow…I’d do it all again in a heartbeat.” She’s earned her stripes working for landowners throughout Colombia and is proud to have a farm of her own today.
Ana and her husband care for seven children, their aging parents, three pigs, a flock of chickens, seven Normandy dairy cows, one bull, the community convenience store, a cheese-making business and an innovative integrated produce farm.
Edwyn, Ana’s loan officer, says she has set up an exemplary integrated farm on her relatively small property and has successfully diversified her sources of income. Her curuba (passion fruit) trees are high-yield and their fruit can be harvested weekly all year round. She also cultivates potatoes and green beans. With milk from her dairy cows, she makes cheese to sell in her store and in local markets, a skill she learned from her parents. She then feeds the discarded whey to her pigs.
Her integrated farming system is so important because while proceeds from Ana’s harvests last week were strong, she can sometimes go through an entire month without earning anything from her crops. The diversity of her farm means she can make her monthly loan payments without fail.
Ana is the leader of her solidarity group, and her first loan was for US$1,000. Though she’s accustomed to owing money, she’s not accustomed to the lower interest rate she receives from Finamerica. She is optimistic about the possibilities afforded her through this loan and confident she’ll make it count.
“There are many people who’ve had everything and appreciate nothing but my kids are honorable and hardworking. My dream is to see them grown. I hope they remember me working their entire lives to see them get ahead.”