{"media":[{"type":"image","src":"assets\/img\/popup\/client_popup_03.jpg","alt":"This is an image of Haigang Zhao, and his mushroom farm"}],"enableslider":0,"likes":16,"title":"Haigang Zhao
Mushroom farmer, China<\/small>","description":"

Haigang Zhao’s office is located in a desolate warehouse complex, and the sparse furnishings and tile floors make it feel like a cold echo chamber. It turns out that Mr. Zhao is nothing like these surroundings, and his heart lies not in this bare office, but rather in the nearby dark, damp, earthy grow-houses where he and his 40-member cooperative produce thousands of juicy, white button mushrooms. <\/p>

Mr. Zhao has used his two loans from Accion Microcredit China (AMC) for raw material, including fertilizer and bamboo to construct planting beds. “More than 10 members [of the cooperative] have now taken loans from Accion,” says Mr. Zhao. “And they have cross-guaranteed one another. We want to build trust with AMC. If one of us loses their trust, we all do.”<\/p>

Mr. Zhao has been in business for just five years and is salivating at the market demand for mushrooms. To expand production to meet it, he needs capital, and he’s hopeful that AMC will continue to be a financial resource for him. “Accion provides a great alternative financing option to state-owned banks. The process of obtaining financing at state-owned banks can be slow and drawn-out. Accion doesn’t ask for any unofficial money’ and processes loans quickly. Accion is approachable for us.”<\/p>

Mushrooms grow like crazy, and Mr. Zhao says that you need 20 people to collect for 10 grow-houses. The planting beds fill up with thousands of new mushrooms at least once a day, sometimes twice.<\/p>

As for how this business has affected Mr. Zhao and the members of his group, he says simply that living standards have improved for all. “Every member now owns a field and a family car. I was born here, poor. My classmates all worked in the garment industry, but I worked as a civil servant. I wanted to be different. I wanted to get out. You have to have the strength to start out. Today, I can feed my family.”<\/p>","url":"http:\/\/elmonoautista.com\/5254392"}