While tractors and diesel motors could be considered labor saving devices, the acquisition and cost of servicing required for most type of farm machinery are presently beyond the means of the average Haitian farmer for whom an ox can do the same job for a lot less money. An ox can pull a plow, turn a mill, or drive a grinding machine or water wheel. An ox can reproduce. Oxen feed on the sparse grass of the mountain terrain and are considered a valuable asset to a poor farmer on the Grande Plateau of northern Haiti.
MICAPPI, St. Joseph’s microcredit program, over the last six years has given 52 oxen loans of $500-$650 (more if a plow is involved) on a ten year loan at 2% interest rate. The interest on these loans together with a portion of the principal is paid back quarterly. Oxen loans must meet all the criteria of small business loans except that they are given individually. The Haitian veterinarian trained by our program at the best veterinarian university in Haiti, the Inivesite Fondwa in Leogane, cares for the oxen and other animals purchased with MICAPPI loans and annually provides care seminars for all animal breeders.