In a Cash-Strapped Age, Are Microloans the Answer?
By Graham Snowdon
When Typhoon Haiyan laid waste the central Philippines in 2013, Bernadeth Cabusog was one of the many people whose lives were turned upside down. Her smallholding was wrecked and with it, her family’s main means of provision. “It was the hardest time of our lives,” she recalls. “All our vegetables were destroyed. We really needed some help.”
Cabusog took the advice of a neighbour in her village in rural Cebu province and approached Lamac, a local agricultural co-operative. Lamac lent her around $450 to replant her crops of lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes, allowing her to defer half of its repayment until she was back on her feet again. “I was just so thankful that they were there to help me. I felt like God had a purpose for me after all,” she says.
Seven years later, Cabusog has just repaid her fifth loan of $1,900, which went towards fertiliser and other farm equipment, to Lamac. She sells her produce through the co-operative and employs two people. Some of the money will help fund the wages of more workers she plans to hire this year.
Photo courtesy of Images Money.