Guatemala Valle del Polochic
$10,000 needed of $44,716
The Asociacion de Desarrollo Integral Polochic (ADIP) began in 1992 and its work focuses on preventive health, adult education, sustainable agriculture and leadership development in communities located in the remote Polochic region of Eastern Guatemala, which is often affected by natural disasters. The program is scaling-up work started during the previous Guatemala Four Departments program.
During the past seven years, ADIP has been working with small scale farmers of the Q’eqchi’ communities of the Polochic Valley region, promoting sustainable agriculture and food security practices such as: soil conservation techniques, crop rotation and diversification, root processing, coffee and cardamom management, fish husbandry and root crop processing. During the current phase of the program, ADIP has expanded their work to include two new communities while continuing to work in four of the communities that were included in the previous program, and that have not yet reached the level of an ‘advanced community’.
The program’s goal is the transformational development of these six impoverished communities in rural Guatemala, through the implementation of trainings about sustainable agriculture using local resources. Much interest has been generated in the target communities for the trainings offered through this program, thanks to the achievements made over the last 6 years, but specifically in the last three years in which the partner integrated the agriculture program with the Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) program and with the Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) program, expanding its reach to a vulnerable target population: households with mothers and children between 0 to 2 years of age.
We’re Never Done Learning
Until local partner ADIP offered training in soil conservation, Zacarías thought he’d learned everything there was to know about farming … and that it wasn’t getting any better.
His parents had taught him traditional farming and he’d done what they’d shown him for many years. But then he started noticing that the land he inherited was not as “strong” as it used to be. The yields were lower, and with seven children and a wife to feed, he was very worried.
From his work as a day laborer on the plantations of large land owners, he saw that maize and bean harvests improved with chemical fertilizers, so he started using them, too. His results were good at first, but crop losses worsened after a while. Not only for him but for the plantations, which began shutting down. Zacarías began to migrate to other regions of Guatemala to earn income. He didn’t know what else to do.
In 2020, ADIP began implementing a sustainable agriculture program in his village. Zacarías was one of the first people to participate in their meetings and training sessions. Learning about ways to recover the land and farm without the excessive use of chemicals was eye-opening for him.
“I was very surprised. Many of the topics, specifically soil conservation, were new to me. Since that first meeting, I have enthusiastically used those techniques on my plot, enriching my soil, planting living barriers to slow erosion, planting fruit trees, and diversifying my crops to lower the risk of a total crop failure. We’re eating better, we’re able to share with others, and we’re earning some money.”
“I am proud of my plot because it reflects my efforts before the eyes of neighbors and people who visit. I share my experience about soil conservation with anyone who asks, and my neighbors are doing conservation farming, too. Imagine: I used to think I was done learning! I’m now committed to improving and managing my land in a sustainable way and to teaching it to my children, because someday they will own this land.”
Guatemala Valle del Polochic Program
Led by World Renew and Local Partner ADIP