Honduras Farming Project
Christmas presents arrived early for farmers in Pena Blanca, Naco, and Santa Barbara. They looked like kids with new toys as they were unwrapping their fumigating pumps, and unloading irrigation inputs. Excitement and great expectation permeate the place, as villagers pass by the drip irrigated sweet potato fields.
Even though the Peña Blanca Village is surrounded by beautiful landscaping, rivers, and rich soils, farmers struggle without true farming success. Their current income is less than $1.75 (USD) a day, their education level range from 1st to 3rd grade, many of them have received no education at all. They have become farmers by trade, but their farming and business skills are very, very limited. They have no knowledge about the market and become an easy prey for the “coyotes”. After failing time after time their light of hope starts dimming and their hearts filled with suspicion and negativism.
Mentors Honduras is fostering a very promising new approach for empowering poor farmers to increase in self-reliance, we have made new adjustments to our mentoring and training programs and have included several new seasonal farming factors into our loan formulas. We have also created several new partnerships that will greatly improve our ability to help the people here in Honduras.
I am excited to share with you that Mentors Honduras, USAID, Berinsa, and Miguel Sing are partnering to implement a new irrigation program that will impact thousands of lives in a powerful way. We are expecting farmers to increase their income 8 or 10 times of what they are currently making.
6,000 families around the country have been blessed with irrigation through the USAID program called “Acceso”. Mentors Honduras have stepped in to close the financial support gap needed to fully empower families away from poverty. Mentors Honduras is providing financial support for seeds, input, equipment, and transportation. World class mentoring is being provided as USAID Engineers and Mentors Honduras Consultants combine efforts to ensure high-quality business training and very specific and practical field farming techniques are being shared with these struggling farmers.
“Berinsa Enterprise” and “Miguel Sing” wanted to give back, and are helping in the process of marketing the farming produce that will soon be sold in Canada and the United States.
“As a task becomes greater, the need of a team increases.” The task of uplifting our people is of great proportions, we feel confident about this team, and we know it will measure up to the task.
Christopher Castellanos USAID production Manager said; “We have great expectations about this alliance, we are excited to have found Mentors Honduras who is providing financial support and technology for our farmers”.
Ovil Perdomo Alvarado one of the farmers said; “I never thought I would learn this much”.
Nelson Montejo President of the group of farmers said; “We are so happy to see this project happening for real, we are very optimistic about the outcomes for our community.”
Farmers will become certified in sweet potato farming when they harvest with high quality. Many are excited to share with their friends and family the farming and business skills they have learned in our classes. They plan to pay it forward and become mentors to others. No doubt that as these farmers start experiencing success their belief in their own capacity to perform will increase, their hope and expectation will be higher, their children will dramatically change their mindset, and we will witness a wonderful and powerful change happening from one generation to another.
From the desk of Otoniel Manley, Executive Director of Mentors Honduras