Loans for Income Generation
Over 35,000 farmers have received loans from IPHD to improve their agricultural production. Loan funds were developed, mainly with the help of USDA funds from monetizing food aid in Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Republic, Central African Republic, Congo Republic, and Mexico. The largest loan funds were in Guinea Republic and Equatorial Guinea. Loans were given sometimes at no interest cost to very poor farmers, or at 2 to 10 percent interest, depending on the target group, production potential, and program approved. Usually, IPHD managed the loan funds for two revolutions and then turned the funds over to its partner NGOs, such as Caritas. Loans (credits) were used for seeds, plants, tools, insecticides and fertilizers, chickens, pigs, other animals, and similar farm items or needs. Loans were as little as $40 and as high as $800. In total, IPHD invested over $1.6 million in loan funds, including administrative costs and funds for training partners in loan management.
Besides farm loans, IPHD made credit available to 11,300 women, mainly in Mexico, Republic of Guinea, and the Congo Republic. These loans, often at zero to 5 percent interest, were made to poor women and groups of women for setting up a sewing and tailoring shop, a food stall in a local market, poultry-raising, textile dying, canning of fruits and vegetables, a shop to sell cloth or clothes, hair-dressing, and many other activities. Loans were given to many women whose spouses had died from AIDS. Loans helped women to finance the cost of more food for their family, help with medical care, and pay school fees for their children. As with the farmer loan funds, these loan programs were transitioned to local partners after one or two revolutions under IPHD management. IPHD provided the women with technical assistance in many activities they undertook, more especially in management such as keeping financial records of expenditures and income. Some of these women have been able to obtain other, usually small credits, from local financial soucres following the success with their project.
In the Congo Republic, IPHD provided over 250 loans for Congolese who wanted to start-up a small business or expand their business. These loans employed about 1,500 people who would not have been employed elsewhere or were under-employed. Loans wee made for furniture-making, animal feed production (small-scale), soap-making, opening restaurants, food production (including ice-cream making), computer/cell phone maketing, and many other activities. A good example of this was the person in Brazzaville who opened a pizza parlor and later with IPHD’s help opened two additional pizza parlors. Another good example in the chocolate factory in Pointe Noire. With its first loan, the factory bought more equipment and a generator. Later, with IPHD help, under a USDA Food for Progress program, the chocolate factory expanded. It is the only chocolate factory in the Comgo Republic. Other projects include manufacture of whitewash, auto mechanic shops, and electrician services.
River Fishing Loan Funds
Besides the loan funds described above, IPHD has made loans of $570,000 to 1,893 fishermen and 87 fishing groups in the Congo and Central African Republics to to increase their income by upgrading their equipment with engines for their boats, and for purchasing fishing nets, storage boxes, and other needs