Same Farm, Different Farming
Whereas Juan Alberto once grew only corn and “beans if we could get them,” he now has a diversified farm that enables him to cope with unpredictable swings between drought and flooding in his part of the country.
“I have made these changes according to what I’ve learned through [Local partner Centro Inter Eclesial de Estudios Teológicos y Sociales – CIEETS]. Even though we just have a small plot of land we have enhanced our food production and health considerably,” he says.
CIEETS arrived in his community a couple of years ago when farmers were suffering from crop losses due to heavy rains. He was grateful that they offered not just a handout, but opportunities for development. Because weather cycles are less predictable, Juan Alberto was interested in alternatives to traditional farming that could help him cope with a more complicated reality.
“Whatever we could harvest was the basis of our livelihood,” says Juan Alberto. “Sometimes it wasn’t much. But with CIEETS we have been learning how to improve our land and the resources we have. I went from growing one or two crops to harvesting up to 22 different ones, including avocado, rice, sweet potato, passion fruit, pumpkin, cucumber, tomato, bell pepper, papaya, yams and cassava.”
The diversity means that, if one crop fails at a critical time in its cycle, there will be others on a different cycle that haven’t been planted yet or have already been harvested. Not only is the variety of produce attractive in the marketplace, it gives his family a more nutrient-rich diet.
Because the rains for growing a second, “winter,” crop are no longer dependable, he has received a collection tank to store rainwater for irrigation during that season. And a piglet he got through the program is feeding off of what’s not usable from the garden. He will breed her and make a better income from the sale of her offspring. All part of diversifying the farm.
In short, Juan Alberto and his family have seen a marked improvement on their farm. And, as he says, “We feel joyful because we have been able to share our experience, our transformation, with other families that CIEETS is helping. It’s a great feeling to be able to support other families in our community who are going through similar changes.”
Nicaragua Carazo Diriamba Program
Led by Church World Service and World Renew and Local Partner Centro Inter Eclesial de Estudios Teológicos y Sociales (CIEETS)