Thursday, June 13, 2013

Adonil's corn mill, one year later

Interviews by Gilberto Barrientos and Pedro Hernández

Adonil and Gilberto
Jose Adonil Tejada came to La Unión on Friday to pick up his microloan of fertilizer for his coffee farm. Last year, Adonil received a loan from UMF to purchase a corn mill to grind corn into flour for his family and the community of La Ceibita, where he lives. In the year since he was able to buy this mill, he has paid off the loan and has secured a small but steady income for his family from the mill.

Besides receiving money from other families using the mill, Adonil’s family saves money by being able to use their own mill instead of paying to use another. Currently, they have an average of four people from the community coming to use the mill each day. The price Adonil charges others to use the mill depends on how much corn they bring, but he said the average is about 3 lempiras per person. This means the family earns about 12 lempiras per day from the mill.

Twelve lempiras is about $0.60, which doesn’t seem like much. However, many families in the La Unión region live on less than $2 per day. To receive an extra income of 360 lempiras (about $18) per month is no small thing, especially if a member of the family needs medical care, new clothes or school supplies. In addition to this income, Adonil’s family saves about 90 lempiras per month by having their own corn mill, making their total income/savings 450 lempiras (about $22.50) per month.

Adonil has not had to spend anything on the mill for repairs because he and his family perform simple maintenance to care for it. They make sure water does not fall into the motor, and they clean the mill immediately after grinding corn. They also clean the band of the motor and use resin on it to keep it on track.

Adonil said that he and his family are very happy with the mill, and that it has been a good investment for them. He likes that it is easy to operate for him, his wife or his daughter. At UMF, we hope to continue offering access to microloans for processing equipment, through which farmers may support their families, as well as provide a service for their communities. 

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