In Guatemala, Roberto Satisfies Passion for Farming with Training

In Guatemala, Roberto Satisfies Passion for Farming with Training

Roberto, a longtime farmer and member of one of the communities served by FRB’s Guatemala-Four Departments program, is taking good advantage of the appropriate farming techniques he’s learned from the program. Roberto is passionate about agriculture. During his childhood and adolescence, he lived with his parents and worked with them on various private farms in Quetzaltenango. His family had to spend all they earned – about three quetzales (40 cents today) a week – so they were never able to pull themselves out of poverty.

In 1960, the farm owners in the area were forced to sell their properties due to dramatic decreases in the value of coffee and because two infestations, broca (borer) and roya (rust), were destroying crops and, therefore, profits. Because of this desperate need to sell, anyone who could buy land was able to secure it immediately at very low cost, and Roberto was able to purchase a small plot. He had no extra money or experience managing land, and though he worked hard, his yields were meager.

Over time, community members heard about the training that local partner organization Vid & Pampanos was conducting. These highly motivated farmers, including Roberto, started to attend theoretical and practical training at demonstration plots in the community. The changes in yields at the plots were dramatically visible, with a tripling of production, and the techniques used were effective against broca and roya. Roberto began to diversify his crops and improve his yields of organically grown coffee, banana, and beans. He learned about methods of improving soil fertility, including vermiculture and compost.

He’s now able to feed his family, sell his surplus, and use the income to improve his family’s health and wellbeing.Vid & Pampanos’s Director David Ramirez recently observed, “Roberto is now not only a very good farmer, but an outstanding community leader, helping his neighbors to improve their traditional way of planting to increase yields. He is Secretary of the Council of Community Development in his village!”

The Guatemala-Four Departments program encompasses 16 communities, 519 households, and 2076 individuals.

03/25/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment