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Tulasi able to expand his agro-business through SACCOs

Tulasi in his agro-vet shop

Tulasi Gautam (51) is a permanent resident of Dokhu VDC, Ward # 2 in Taplejung District. He runs an agro-vet shop in Dokhu VDC, Ward # 8 and he is also the Chairperson of Shilajit Multi-purpose group.

One day Tulasi heard that Mercy Corps’ ‘PROMISE’ project was supporting the merger and registration of informal safety nets under Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) into formal Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs) at the VDC level and would be providing technical, logistical and legal support. Thinking this would be a good opportunity for him and his group, he decided to propose and merge their Shilajit Multi-purpose group into a SACCO and see if they could grow their investments. Having been assured that his and his group members’ savings would be safe in the SACCO, the members collected a total sum of NPR 35,500 savings from 25 members and the group was then formalized into the Shilajit Savings and Credit Cooperative. After the establishment of the cooperative, he worked as an active member in the ad-hoc management committee of the cooperative. Realizing the need for strengthening their cooperative for the benefit of the community, he offered his house as an in-kind donation from which to run the cooperative. Due to his busy schedule, he can only afford to be a general member of the cooperative now instead of a leading member, but he is regularly investing his savings in the cooperative. He also opened a child savings scheme for his son and made his father, mother and wife members of the cooperative. Additionally, he is encouraging everyone who is associated with a savings and credit business to become a member of the cooperative.

In order to expand and commercialize his main agro-business (seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.), he has already taken out a loan of NPR 37,000 for a 6-month period from the cooperative. He is paying interest on a monthly basis at the rate of 18% per annum. His profit has increased as a result of the additional investment in his agro-business and he is planning to repay the loan soon. After paying it back, he is again planning to take out a loan to expand the same business further.

Thus, Tulasi is not only taking advantage of formal services providing by SACCOs in his agro-business, but he’s also raising awareness of the role that SACCOs can play in people’s private businesses and in their community and encouraging people to become members.

This is just an example of how Mercy Corps’ PROMISE project is supporting communities in rural areas by formalizing VSLAs into SACCOs and providing benefits through access to formal financial services so everyday people can invest in their own lives and their businesses.

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