Designing a Better Farm
Despite the disruption of the pandemic, recent hurricanes, and the loss of the first bean crop to excessive rains, not all the news has been bad. Coffee prices have been favorable and the conditions are looking good so far for the second planting of beans. And Rufino is feeling very optimistic after totally revamping his way of farming.
Up until a year and a half ago, Rufino was what he called a traditional farmer, raising corn, coffee and beans on his 10-acre plot. When he joined local partner AMC’s hands-on Farmer Field School, he didn’t know about diversifying crops or intercropping to use his land more productively. He immediately designated a half-acre plot to practice on while he received his first six months of training.
He established an agroforestry system, preparing a rich growth medium for his coffee and cocoa plant nurseries, then came up with a plan and a design for how he would organize such crops as cassava, bananas, and pigeon peas on the land.
“It’s so different from the traditional ways. All the crops are in a single space, and I schedule and organize when and where I’ll plant each one.”
After just six months, he can already see the changes in his plot. All the crops are developing in their own time, protecting each other and improving the soil. He has started producing cassava with a yield of 20 to 25 pounds per plant, and he hopes in the next six months to produce much more. This root crop can stay in the ground until needed, and will serve as a kind of combination food bank and bank account. His family will always have something to eat, and he can choose when, and if, to sell it for cash.
Rufino expresses gratitude for all the knowledge he’s acquired in such a short time, and the confidence he feels in carrying out his newfound practices independently. “The training and support by AMC allows us farmers to increase our families’ well-being and protect the environment.”
Nicaragua Matagalpa Program
Led by World Renew and Local Partner Acción Médica Cristiana (AMC)