Small credits foster rural entrepreneurship in Guinea
Mohamed enjoys welcoming visitors to his vegetables garden in Fria town, in Guinea, and is proud to show every crop he has been growing. This 32-year-old rural entrepreneur recalls how his business succeeded thanks to an unexpected opportunity while he was pursuing a civil servant career.
Since graduating in agricultural engineering in 2012, he tried many times to get a job at the government without success. In the meantime, he did small freelance work farming a small piece of land and selling agricultural products. "All I wanted was a decent income," he says.
One day in 2017, Mohamed heard about the Financial Services Associations (Associations de services financiers, ASF), a network of rural financial cooperatives supported by IFAD through the PNAAFA-LGF programme in Guinea. As the network provides low-interest credit to its members, Mohamed saw it as an opportunity to invest in his small plot, and soon decided to join the ASF agency in Fria.
Mohamed applied for a loan of GNF2 million (US$215), which he used to purchase seeds and fertilizers for his garden. His production increased and his revenues from post-harvest sales reached GNF6 million (US$645).
Excited for tripling the value of his initial investment, Mohamed paid off the first loan and applied for a second one, this time for GNF3 million (US$320). The returns hit an impressive GNF11.6 million (US$1,250).
As revenues increased, Mohamed was again able to pay off his loan and develop a good payer reputation with ASF. So when he requested a third loan, the agency gave him a larger credit. While Mohamed sells the latest harvest’s products, he expects to make an even higher income and looks forward to keep growing.