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Livestock for a life long income in Costa Rica

David didn’t follow in his father’s footsteps. Instead, he learned cheesemaking from his neighbor and decided to start a dairy business of his own.

As the oldest of four children, David lives with his parents and brother. His father and brother both work in agriculture. 

On a sunny day in December 2018, David proudly showed off his farm and corral to one of Kiva’s fellows in San Cristóbal, Costa Rica. The mountainous area is known for its coffee production and other types of agricultural activities. 

David owns two cows that he bought with a Kiva loan of $2,725. It helped him expand his milk and cheesemaking business. He also used part of the loan to fix the stables. 

Cows are a versatile business - David can generate an income from them in various ways.  Aside from selling the milk, he also makes cheese and occasionally sells meat from the non-dairy cows to local carnicerías (meat shops). He sells the cheese and milk at his friend’s small grocery store in San Jose.

David has a contract with a local meat shop where he occasionally sells the meat from the non-dairy cows. It takes about a year and a half for a cow to grow to be big enough to sell for meat. 

When David started this business around three years ago, he had only one calf. Now, he has two cows and two heifers. He wants to buy another cow every year, which will continue to increase his income.

“I would never be able to have this type of business without the loan,” David said.

Thanks to the help from Kiva lenders and Field Partner EDESA, small-holder farmers such as David can start a business and continue to expand it little by little every year.

Click here to lend people like David.

About the author

Hassan Hijazi

Hassan is an Atlas Corps fellow from Jordan serving at Kiva as Impact and Storytelling fellow. He earned his bachelor's degree in Journalism and Media at University of Petra in Jordan. He worked for different non-profit organizations in Jordan for more than 7 years, 5 of which being in emergency response. His experience is in media, communications and advocacy.