$0 needed of $50,000
Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
Estelí is located in Central America’s Dry Corridor, a region that stretches from Guatemala to Western Nicaragua. This area represents one of the places most affected by climate change over the last two decades. Seasons are getting both hotter and dryer. Precipitation is increasingly sporadic and when it does come it is intense, washing away topsoil and providing little benefit to the crops small holder farmers are growing.
The Diocesan Caritas of Estelí is working with families to help them adapt to these changes through the promotion of water smart agricultural practices and practices that increase the organic matter content in soils. These techniques build soil health over time, leading to increased yields. Crop diversification will improve families’ diets. Training on marketing surplus crops and the formation of savings and lending (SILC) groups will help families improve their incomes and launch new small businesses.
Update from the Field - Nicaragua Estelí
Emergency Inputs and Training Got Them Through
Domingo expressed his gratitude for the emergency inputs and training support he received as a drought devastated the July-November 2021 planting cycle, adding, “We really needed it.”
At 63, Domingo knows well the ups and downs of farming, having worked in agriculture since he began herding cattle at age 7. Even so, the drought that took an estimated 75% of area corn and 95% of the soybean crop had local farmers worried.
“When you farm, you sometimes have to sacrifice buying household supplies in order to buy a few crop supplies,” he said. But this was different. Domingo and his neighbors didn’t know how they would manage, as they had been left without the seed and resources they needed for the next planting.
When local partner Diocesan Caritas of Estelí field technicians offered help, the relief among the farmers was palpable. “They gave us a supply kit that contained bean seed, sorghum seed, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, and foliar applications. Then, at the Farmers’ Field School, we were trained in soil conservation practices like green manure and mulch to conserve moisture and control weeds. That’s how we were able to save a little bit of the corn.
“They also had us work out a resilience plan. The farmers around here like this methodology because everything we do now is linked to our plan. For example, next year we intend to diversify with drought-resistant yuca (a tuber) and sweet potatoes.
“We are more united than ever, now that we are also part of a savings and loan group that meets weekly. And we’ve formed a community group for jointly selling our crops and selecting good quality seed for our next planting cycle.”
Domingo concluded by saying, “We are so grateful to you all for helping us to produce and organize. Now we hope that the coming year will bring better conditions so we can continue working and saving.”
Nicaragua Estelí Program
Led by Catholic Relief Services and Local Partner Diocesan Caritas of Estelí