This week we continued to integrate ourselves into daily life in Tingo María and did some additional information gathering for our project, meeting with
the cooperative that TechnoServe partnered with when launching their pilot financing program, as well as other groups that provide credit to farmers.
Parker and I feel like we’re starting to get a feel for the rhythm of life here in Tingo Maria. While formerly a hub for “coca” production, the city has
turned into a center for coffee and chocolate production, as well as an eco-tourism destination. While we’ve been focusing on coffee/cocoa during the week,
on the weekends Parker and I have been sure to also take advantage of the lush forest and beautiful waterfalls that the area has to offer.
There is a large national park a short moto-taxi ride away with plenty of natural beauty to explore. In particular I was amazed by the “Cueva de las
Lechuzas,” a large natural cave filled with various “creepy crawlies,” as well as a natural waterfall named “Gloriapata” where you could swim in the
natural pool below. While cold, the water was extremely refreshing – particularly after the long hike in the tropical heat to get there!
From the various financing entities here, we have been learning much about the screening process for loans as well as various risk mitigation techniques
that are used in the loans. These will form the framework as we work with our partners to optimize their funding models. Next week we have a busy week
planned as we’re going to meet with farmers to get their “bottom-up” thoughts on the various financing models that are in place.