Update on Kiva Loans

Partner David standing in front of some of his existing plantain trees

Partner David standing in front of some of his existing plantain trees

Late in July we closed a plantain loan on Kiva, a microlending platform that supports entrepreneurs and projects in the developing world. The $6,000 loan will cover the costs of a plantain project with our partner David, including seed stock, fertilizer, fencing materials, and technical assistance.

This latest one closes out our round of seven plantain loans, all with our smallholder and Indigenous partners in Panama. We are already starting to harvest plantains from project funded with our 2013 loans, and look forward to hopefully renewing an agreement with Kiva to continue doing these high-impact projects.

With our remaining credit line, we plan to fundraise on Kiva for longer term timber projects, that will deliver more revenue and opportunity for our Panamanian partners.

We took this set of videos to demonstrate the process of seeding the plantains in the nursery prior to planting.

Updates in Pictures

Our Operations Manager Mateo Johnson took some shots of our plantain operations over the past few weeks. Here we publish some of our favorites.

10,000 Plantains and Counting

A worker harvests plantains with a machete

A worker harvests plantains with a machete

We recently surpassed 10,000 plantains sold from our operations in Darien. Typically they are sold by the racimo, or bunch, for between $3-$7, usually within one of the communities where we work.

Harvesting is hard work, consisting of cutting the racimo off the plantain stalk, hauling it to the collection point, and loading them into sacks for transport to the nearby communities. 

Plantain production should continue to scale through the rest of 2014, with harvests from the Kiva-funded plantain projects starting around September. While sales and plantain prices in the communities have been steady, we're developing relationships with small supermarkets and co-ops in the area to be able to move large quantities of plantains with better pricing.

Update on Kiva Plantain Project

Update on Kiva Plantain Project

In our last journal update we covered the process of incubating plantain seeds in the nursery. Since then the plantains grew to the appropriate size, and we began planting.

During the first couple of weeks in August, Liriano and the team from Arimae cleared the planting area of the thick undergrowth. The area was originally planted as a pure cocobolo (Rosewood) stand as part of a previous community project, but it had been some time since it was cleaned, so we spent a fair amount of labor machete-ing.

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