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New funds available for Nicaraguan agri-tourism farms | Dec 14, 2010

The agreement is signed by Mario Salinas (INTUR) and Manuel Aburto (Caruna).
Róger Solórzano Canales

The rural and communitarian tourism projects developed nationwide by diverse peasant cooperatives will have seven million dollars available for loans, thanks to an agreement signed today, December 14, by the Nicaraguan Institute of Tourism (INTUR) and the Rural Cooperative for Credits and Savings (Caruna) in Managua.

These funds will strengthen the Agri-Tourism Farms Project, in which cooperatives that are members of three important associations: Nicaraguan Network of Rural Tourism (RENITURAL), the National Federation of Nicaraguan Cooperatives (FENACOOP) and the Agroindustrial Federation of Nicaraguan Cooperatives (FENIAGRO); in addition to INTUR and the Swiss Cooperation, participate.

During a press conference, Mario Salinas, president of INTUR, explained that the project is developed in different phases, which are aimed at promoting important infrastructure improvements, business trainings, service offers, promotion and marketing strategies, agricultural production, among other topics.

The first loan was already approved for the remodeling of three farms: El Pilar Eco-Shelter, Pilas-El Hoyo community (León), the Monte Grande Farm in San Ramón (Matagalpa) and Finca Magdalena in Ometepe island (Rivas). The construction will begin in January and, according to Salinas, it will be finished and ready for tourists by May or April.

Flor Velásquez, directive of the Pilas-El Hoyo cooperative, expressed her satisfaction with this initiative. She expects it gives a support to rural tourism efforts from her cooperative and others. "There is not better university than need," said Flor, while describing what she has been working for, despite the minimal support of government authorities.

According to the president of INTUR, the funds will be divided in three parts: two million dollars for the Río San Juan area, two million for Ometepe island and the rest for three projects located in other zones of the country. All interested farmers must present their formal projects in order to apply to a loan (US$3,000 - US$100,000 per farm).

RENITURAL's president, Harold Ramos, thanked for the interest of the people who are involved in the project. The efforts, he said, will increase the competitiveness of the productive sector of the country, and will improve the quality of life of the peasant families.