A craft to last for generations

Coconut oil is very common in Latin America and in recent years, it has become popular in many countries around the world. It has a high content of saturated fats which is beneficial to the body. It could also be employed for a number of purposes ranging from food consumption, to healing treatment and cosmetic use. This by-product is difficult to make, but for Francisco and his family, it has become their main livelihood.

Using his yard as a workplace, his humble home in the Dominican province of Samaná starts the day splitting and grating coconuts with the help of a machine. But it is his expert hand which separates the extracted fibers. He knows every step of the process by heart; he knows that for every 50 coconuts, he could make a gallon of oil (3.7L), and that good quality oil needs enough resting time.

“We have been manufacturing oil for as long as I can remember”

For almost a decade, he has been following the same process, aided by his wife and father in-law. This family trade has been running for years. “We have been manufacturing oil for as long as I can remember. My mother used to do everything manually: she would grate the coconuts with a machete grater that we used for many years, until we were able to buy an electric one”, remembers Francisco, as he ponders on the recent changes the business has undergone.

These changes were accelerated in 2016, when he joined Banco Adopem, searching to improve and simplify his oil manufacturing business. The BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s MFI granted him two loans, which enabled him to increase productivity, improve his sales, and secure more buyers. This support has now improved his life and is encouraging him to keep making progress.

Elaborating this home-made oil is a passion for Francisco. He says it’s something he’ll keep doing. As to the future, he trusts that his two children would continue with the family trade that has survived generations. He believes that with motivation, this could go on for all time, as long as coconuts keep on growing, and an institution like the BBVAMF accompanies him in this journey.