The drought has been particularly hard for 63 year-old Julia Caridad Ponce Zamora and her community of Rio Grande in northern Nicaragua. She says that the drought started five years ago, but over the past two years she’s seen an 80% reduction of corn and beans — essential crops that are dependent on rain. She now receives support from PeaceWorks’ local partner, The Federation for the Development of Rural Farmers, FEDICAMP which trains rural farmers and provides financing for sustainable agricultural projects. Meet FEDICAMP President Miguel Marin at the PeaceWorks November 14th Dinner Forum.
“To address the effects of the drought we catch what little water falls from the sky thanks to FEDICAMP. They have supported me to do soil conservation: retaining walls,, dikes and showing me how to cover soil and plant trees and fruit trees to diversify them. Now have everything: cassava, bananas, oranges, plums, papaya, mango, passion fruit, dragon fruit, pipián, sweet potatoes and many other crops that have helped us to have a little more income and to feed us here at home. Even though I didn’t harvest all the beans and corn I had hoped for, with a variety of other crops to eat and sell, I was able to bring in an extra 2000 Cordobas (about $75.00).
I tell my neighbors and other farmers to put into practice the agro-ecological techniques that FEDICAMP has taught us. This farmer-to-farmer methodology is very important because when we share the knowledge we acquired in training, in local and national exchanges, we can also trade products and seeds to diversify our plots even more.
While I don’t grow great quantities of food, my experience has inspired me to continue diversifying my land because I am at least assured to feed my family with organic, healthy foods of good quality.
I thank God for harvest this year, not as we expected, but at least I’ll have seed for planting a second season, and have the opportunity to purchase food during this time.