Farms program adds 10 new farmers in Nicaragua

New farmers in pest control workshop, Nicaragua

In the month of March 2023, ten new families joined our growing list of farming families. This new group brings our total number of farmers to 50, farming 60 farms in Nicaragua, enough to feed 300 families. In March they were given materials for the construction of their family farms including: two rolls of metal fencing, a drip irrigation system complete with tank and perforated water lines, seeds, and manual spray pumps. Once the farms are constructed, families receive ongoing practical training and supervision on field days.

Before receiving the materials, recommendations were given to the families to motivate them about their new responsibilities, and their objective to improve their nutrition and earn a living through farming. One of the many benefits to families is that they will no longer buy vegetables, and their farming surplus, almost 80% of what they grow, can be sold in their community to improve the nutrition of other families as well.

New training methods

Over time, we have seen the need to implement field days, where theoretical and practical knowledge is taught in group settings. These include training for: selecting seeds or improving the soil with organic material that will be used for their seedlings and furrows, and other technical topics.

Families are also taught how to prepare and use organic materials to combat pests and diseases. Biofungicides and biopesticides are organic mixtures made with various plants and garden vegetables. For pests we use: Garlic and Onion, Chile, Madero Negro, eucalyptus leaf and nim leaf. For organic fungicides we use: Bicarbonate of soda, Ash, Moringa leaf and Calcium chloride or Lime.

Diversifying crops, improving nutrition

Our goal is to create crop diversity to achieve better diets among the rural population. We provide an increasing variety of seeds including: Tomato (3 varieties), Radish, Carrot, Lettuce, Cabbage, Red Onion, Chives, Melon, Eggplant, Sweet pepper, Cucumber, Jalapeño Chile, Jamaica flower, Passion fruit, Squash, Long Beans, Watermelon, Beets, Pitahaya, Celery and of course, Corn. Also fruit including Papaya, Guayaba, Lemon, Melon and Pineapple.  Moringa is planted as a windbreak and firewood source.  Its leaves are dried and used as a nutritional and medicinal tea, as cattle fodder and for composting.

Families are being advised to plant beans and fruit trees along their fences so that they serve as windbreaks for the farm, protect vegetables from pests, lower temperatures and maintain humidity. They are also taught to make and place yellow traps to reduce pests.

The ten new farmers include the following women and their families from the Troilo community: Yamillette Dávila, Gabriela Dávila, Juana Artola, Fabiola Chavarría, Argentina Muñoz, Jacqueline Muñoz, Deyanira Espinoza, Martha Cano, Hellen Espinoza, and Sarahi Pacheco.

We also reassigned five additional farms to: Fátima Hernández, Paula Hernández, Juana Hernández, Juliana Galeano, and Keyling Medrano.

These families have learned to plant intensive and diverse farms to ensure their food supply and improve their livelihoods while continuing to do what they love most: cultivating the land as they have done for generations but in a new, highly productive and successful way. Agriculture is their ancient and new way of life, as it is for many people living in their communities of Goyena y Troilo, a place that has faced increasing drought conditions for years and limited access to irrigation water and systems.

Testimonies express the reality of the families from Nicaragua in Troilo and Goyena, who have faced failed harvests, droughts, plagues and many hours outdoors, but their dedication and attachment to the land where they were born is a constant motivation.

Hellen Espinoza:

“Before we had no experience  caring for vegetables, nor did we know organic products or how to prepare them. Now with the benefit that ViviendasLeón has given us, we have farms  with diversified vegetables. They have taught us how to take care of them and how to prepare biopesticides based on organic materials.”

The families have said they are more motivated. They have had repeated successful harvests which have improved their quality of life with a healthy and balanced diet, and their incomes now help with their children’s school supplies.