Peanut Farm
Havelu, Tonga

Ilisalote Na’a, a 25-year-old woman, learned a lot about savings and life through her SPBD loans. Prior to joining SPBD, Ilisalote and her family relied solely on the income of her husband, who worked hard growing tapioca, kumara, and yams. However, his income was not enough, so they were forced to live in a house with her husbands’ parents. Wanting to help support her family, Ilisalote took out her first SPBD loan to start her own business as a peanut farmer.

Ilisalote and her husband work together to run the small business and also receive help from family members. However, they need additional workers to plow the fields and harvest the crops. Using loan funds, Ilisalote hires the workers to assist with the harvest, increasing crop output to three yields per year.

Once the peanuts are harvested, Ilisalote is able to store them and roast them weekly. She sells the peanuts at the market to retailers and also sells from her home. Now that she has a regular weekly income, Ilisalote is able to budget her daily expenses better.  Managing her own money also gives her greater independence. “It’s made a huge difference. We got some money for the laborers, and now we get more income.”

While attending SPBD’s Financial Education Program training, Ilisalote was introduced to a financial booklet and cash flow diary. Before this training, she had never kept a record of her earnings and expenses. Ilisalote explained that the training sessions were very helpful, “because you have to know each week what money comes in and what money comes out.”

Ilisalote also uses her financial booklet to keep track of her profits and adjusts her production accordingly. She has learned many useful financial skills such as, “If I don't make money one week, I have to increase the peanuts. For example, if I have 20 bags per day then I have to increase to 50 bags per day and find more places to sell them – at the market, the dairy shop, at home.”

Through SPBD loans, Ilisalote is able to supplement her husband’s income and provide a better life for her family. Ilisalote explains that her husband is pleased with the success of her business stating, “He’s happy because he gets lots of savings – to buy land and build a house.”