Nicaragua Boaco Camoapa
$65,000 needed of $130,000
Nicaragua Boaco is a joint project supported by both World Renew and the Mennonite Central Committee with local partner ACJ. Located in the mountainous central region of Nicaragua, this program works with farmers to recognize challenges that arise from a changing climate due to trends in deforestation and identify farming techniques and crops that help them have more resilient livelihoods. Participants are learning about climate change risk analysis and adaptation planning. Water committees are being organized to ensure care of local water sources. Families are learning to prepare healthier meals that include vegetables grown from their own ‘kitchen gardens’. In addition, they are learning to preserve fruits and vegetables for later use. The program seeks to address gender inequities, reaching the most vulnerable, especially women and girls.
Big Improvements Thanks to Cover Crops
When you ask Reynaldo how he’s getting such great harvests in this dry land, his ready answer is, “Cover crops!” Overuse of fertilizers and pesticides had led to decreasing yields, and the hot sun dried out and hardened his soil. It was always a struggle to put enough food on the table and pay his bills.
When an ag technician from local partner ACJ invited him to a meeting to learn some new ideas, Reynaldo’s first impulse was “not more meetings!” But he liked the guy, and said yes. He learned about preserving soil moisture and adding nutrients back in by planting cover crops, in this case, velvet bean. It only took him three months to see the difference.
Says Reynaldo, “The soil was softer and more fertile. I don’t use nearly as many agro-chemicals anymore, which saves me a lot of money, and I’ve doubled my corn harvest! My neighbors are really impressed by what I’ve accomplished, and they want to try cover crops too. In fact, I’ve earned a bit of extra cash selling them velvet bean seeds. I’ve even experimented with developing bean and corn varieties that produce well even if it doesn’t rain much. I can sell these seeds in my community and neighboring ones.”
To sum it all up, he says, “I’m grateful to God and this program because my family now has enough to eat all year round. I enjoy being an example to other farmers, and I pray for continued good health because I want to see how much more I can achieve on my farm.”