This is the story of Ana Mamani Quispe, the story of one woman who inspired a whole community to rally around to overcome the sudden challenges. The story of many families who managed with the support of microfinance institution, to maintain their income in difficult circumstances.

Ana Mamani Quispe, 38 years old, is a client of the Bolivian microfinance institution Crecer since 2007. She lives together with her husband and son in Bravo, a village just under km from the city of El Alto. The village is located in the Interandino valley, an area that lends itself well to the cultivation of grains and fruit. Ana also earns her income from growing maize, among other crops.

When the pandemic broke out, Ana was in danger of getting into trouble. She could no longer reach her customers and she started suddenly to doubt whether she would find a market for her products. She brought herself in contact with as many people as possible via WhatsApp: friends, relatives, landlords, transporters, other farmers and middlemen. She succeeded to convince many to unite. The farmers would buy their seeds together (with the support of a credit from Crecer), and they would help each other with the shipping and selling the products. In this way she and many other farmers assured themselves of sufficient buyers. Sales mainly happened through online channels. Ana’s creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, together with the help of Crecer’s credit, helped many families to maintain their income in difficult circumstances.


Incofin’s Fairtrade Access Fund (FAF) disburses USD 2 million to promote Fairtrade quinoa. In addition, the ongoing technical assistance project is enhancing the farmers’ production and will protect them better against climate change.

You could consider quinoa as a part of the Bolivian cultural heritage. The Bolivians are relying on the grain as a food source for 7,000 years. Despite the rising popularity of the grain, quinoa farmers face challenges like low productivity and climate change.

SINDAN, a Bolivian processor and exporter of quinoa is boosting the organic and Fairtrade production and consumption of quinoa (and other crops like for example also of chia and amaranth). Not just any quinoa, but the organic royal quinoa, a unique variety found only in the Bolivian Altiplano, at altitudes above 3,600 meters. The particular environment of a dry and cold climate with soils rich in salt lead to a superior quality. No wonder, this variety is in high demand both nationally and internationally.

SINDAN buys the quinoa from certified Fairtrade associations, representing hundreds of smallholder farmers. In that way, SINDAN offers those small farmers a secure market and prices above the average of other local buyers, which gives them the opportunity to raise the standard of their living. On top of that SINDAN provides trainings on techniques to help the farmers increase their production in a sustainable way.

Low productivity and climate risks threaten the livelihood of communities that depend almost exclusively on quinoa production. That is the reason why Incofin is not only investing via a USD 2 million dollar loan disbursement, but also developed a technical assistance project to finetune the farmers’ production techniques. The objective is to boost quinoa yields using environmentally friendly practices, through an integral productivity training program. This program includes topics like the use of organic fertilizers, how to prevent erosion, seed management and disease controls. The project has shown encouraging results: almost 200 producers have been trained already and they have implemented innovative techniques to produce sustainable quinoa which is after a year and a half leading to higher yields.

The second goal is to implement a climate change adaptation action plan to reduce the impact of unpredictable weather patterns and extreme climate events.  Meteorological sensors have been installed in two communities. Through these sensors, farmers will get early alerts and meteorological reports on their phone, as well as technical advice on how to protect their crop better when necessary.