Sunday, September 24, 2017

Supporting Local Entrepreneurs

By Jonathan Lemus, livestock coordinator in La Paz, Bolivia

Fulgencio has always been an entrepreneur, seeking ways to maximize his time and talents. After returning to his hometown of Chiacata, Bolivia, he decided to devote himself to agriculture and raising animals, specifically cows to produce milk.

Fulgencio purchased a herd of six native cows that began producing an average of 12 liters of milk per day. It was enough to not only use in his own home, but to sell as well.

DSC03099He heard that Samaritan’s Purse was working with dairy producers in the neighboring community of Caquiaviri, and his interest was piqued. He attended a meeting for APLECA, a dairy producers association founded as part of our animal and agriculture programs.

He discovered that our animal and agriculture staff was introducing genetically superior cattle, improving forage grasslands, and providing technical assistance to farmers. He was impressed by the work and immediately became a member of the group. He sold his native cows and acquired 14 heads of superior cattle. He now collects an average of 50 liters of milk a day from five cows.

The other cows are at different stages. Some have not reached an age of maturity, some are in a stage of gestation, and others are resting. Fulgencio’s milk production should increase as the entire herd reaches a stage of maturity. This also depends on his efforts to expand forage grasslands.

Bolivia animal agricultureFulgencio was so excited about his new involvement in APLECA that he influenced his fellow dairy producers to emulate the idea in their own area. Before long they had organized their own association. They became the official milk supplier for the municipal government’s school breakfast program, and created a steady source of income for local producers.

Fulgencio expressed his desire to continue growing in his technical skills and to acquire new insights as he partners with Samaritan’s Purse.

“I thank God that you have come to our region, and I am so grateful that He has given me the opportunity to take part in the program,” he said. “I have learned so much through Samaritan’s Purse and feel honored to teach others.”