Here is a translation of a handwritten testimonial from a farmer who has benefited tremendously from a Food For The Poor-supported agriculture project. The Red Lady Papaya Production project outside León, Nicaragua, is a sustainable, income-generating project that has thrived thanks to the technical expertise and partnership of American Nicaraguan Foundation and the Taiwan ICDF. Here is a note of thanks from José, in his own words.
“My name is José… I am from the community of Chacraseca IV. Before this project, the main difficulty that I faced was the lack of resources to develop my crops in order to afford the basic needs of my family.
Traditionally, my family and I have been focused on the production of cassava, and basic grains and seeds such as corn, wheat, and sesame. We did not have the skills to produce other crops using appropriate technologies. Our knowledge about agriculture was basic and we planted “in our way” (traditionally). I used to work as a peasant, earning less than $3.50 per day. My dad has 3 hectares of land, but our family is large and the quantities we produced were not enough for all of us.
We knew other groups in the community that produced papaya, but we did not know how to access these projects until they told us that we had to be organized as a group in order to request the project to ANF and Food For The Poor’s donors. We are thankful to God because the project request was approved. We decided to organize a group made up of 5 families and started the project in August 2014.
First of all, we were trained on the management of crops on “Red Lady” papaya variety and vegetables. The specialists taught us the best techniques to plant, such as the right distances between plants, the appropriate application of fertilizers and agricultural inputs, and the methods to prevent diseases and plagues. Through this project we have received tools like a motocultivator, a drip irrigation system, agricultural inputs, fertilizers, and plants and seeds. In addition, we have had constant technical assistance and training.
Currently, as a group, we have sold 40,000 pounds of papaya which has generated about $3,267. The sales of sweet pepper, cucumber and corn have generated about $1,490.
With the earned money, we bought an electronic scale, a wheelbarrow; we expanded the irrigation system, and have bought more agricultural inputs for future plantation cycles. We are saving 10% of sales. We have saved about $617 to establish more sweet pepper crops and buy more papaya plants for November’s cycle.
With this money, I bought school supplies, uniforms, and shoes for my children and food that we do not produce like rice, chicken, sugar, oil, salt, beans, and others. We have made some improvements in our house. We bought four sheets of zinc to improve the roof, 300 bricks and five bags of cement to complete a bedroom.
Our family and I are very grateful to God and the donors for this project. Our lives have improved a lot economically. We hope that you will continue supporting other producers in the area who have needs and conditions to implement a project like this one.”
* Thank you for making all this possible for José and his family! If you’d like to support more agriculture projects like the Red Lady Papaya initiative, click here.