Rural women are key to develop economies around the world. These hardworking women often play dual roles of smallholder farmers – cultivating crops, caring for livestock and producing food for their communities – while taking care of the children and other family members at home.
Globally, rural women make up 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries. Yet only less than 20% of these women own their own land. Many cannot access needed financial services to grow their farms. In fact, studies show that if rural women had the same access to economic resources as men – such as loans, seeds and livestock – they could increase their farm outputs by 20 to 30%.
This International Day of Rural Women (October 15), FINCA recognizes the importance of investing in women farmers in developing countries. For decades, FINCA has enabled millions of women farmers to access the loans the need to purchase seeds or livestock and harvest more income.
Learn how these three rural women have been empowered by their access to FINCA’s microfinance loans and have grown their farms successfully.
Marlen Johana Zuniga Pérez runs a 24-acre corn and cattle farm in Caserío El Cedrito, Honduras. Three years ago, Marlen needed medication and vaccinations for her 17 cattle, but she couldn’t afford to pay for them.
“Back then, I had nowhere to get the money,” she said. “But then a friend told me about FINCA.”
With her first loan, she was able to safeguard her cattle from deadly diseases. Marlen hired additional workers to fertilize and harvest her corn on the farm with subsequent loans.
“With the loans that I have received, I have been able to pay the salary to these people. Thanks to FINCA, I’ve been able to improve my farm!”
Dalia JaNoelle runs a vast farm in Haiti with her husband Saint Louis. They produce a variety of vegetables and fruits, including spring onions, corn, peanuts, leeks, okra, beans, pistachios, beetroot, yucca, carrots and spices. While her husband tends to the farm, Dalia sells the produce in bulk at the local market.
Not too long ago, the couple struggled to make ends meet and worried about taking care of their 10 children. Dalia’s husband had previously approached several commercial banks to obtain loans but was consistently rejected.
After recieving FINCA’s agricultural loans, however, Dalia purchased seeds in bulk and slowly grew her farm.
With the profits from her abundant farm, Dalia doesn’t worry anymore about feeding or educating her 10 children and is looking forward to harvesting more crops.
Tamila Hidayatova runs a small cattle farm in the back of her home in the Guenshli village in Azerbaijan. She milks her cattle to make yogurt to sell in the market.
Three years ago, Tamila was a housewife who longed to help her family earn extra money. But without access to funds, Tamila couldn’t start a viable home business. Luckily, a neighbor advised her to take a small loan from FINCA. With the loan, Tamila invested in cattle and began to produce yoghurt to sell.
Today, Tamila is a vital earner for her family and helps to support her three children’s needs. Her next goal is to improve the living conditions for her cattle. She knows she can turn to FINCA for support of this goal.