weather, and the planting season were all causes. Yield and production were poor the
first year because of inexperience.
The biggest risk is the initial investment required to start a sawmill. Any long
work stoppage can deprive a cooperative of the income it needs to pay loans incurred in
building a mill. Cooperativa Guadalupe has experienced this problem. Their sawmill
was quite expensive, and they purchased a truck while still paying their loan for the
sawmill. The mill has been idle for half of 2003, and the loan remains unpaid.
Cooperativa Guadalupe also had problems selling its lumber, which were due to
inexperience with business practices. The cooperative sent lumber to one client for over
three months without receiving any payment. By the time they stopped delivering
lumber, the client had accumulated a debt of over 150,000 Lps. and claimed he had no
money to pay the cooperative. They managed to recover about half the debt, but the
business went bankrupt and never paid the balance. It was a 70,000 Lp. mistake that may
have been avoided had the group leaders known more about business practices.
Project ADECAF supplied the capital to constitute EMCAH, the marketing
company created to cater to the agroforestry cooperatives. EMCAH was created to give
cooperatives an advantage in the areas where they were weakest, marketing and lumber
processing. Cooperatives paid 30,000 Lps. to become members plus 500 Lps. per year.
Cooperativa Guadalupe, Villa Santa, and Protección are members of ADECAF. When
ADECAF ended, ownership and control of the company passed to the member
cooperatives. EMCAH uses a professional manager and sales representative to manage
the company and market the products. EMCAH owns and operates three portable
sawmills, which can be operated with any member cooperative harvesting logs. The