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 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 grades, many of them have received no education at all. They have become farmers by trade, but their farming skills are very, very limited. They have no knowledge about the market and become easy prey for the “coyotes” or loan sharks. After failing time after time their light of hope starts dimming and their hearts filled with suspicion and negativism.
***April 2020 Update*** Over 80 families have been impacted by this project. With the increase in incomes it impacts the community more than threefold.
Mentors International in 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.
Mentors Honduras, USAID, Bersina, and Miguel Sing are partnering to implement an idea that will impact thousands of lives in a powerful way. We are expecting farmers to increase their income 8 or 10 times what they are currently making.
6,000 families around the country have been blessed with irrigation through USAID program called “Acceso”. These new irrigation methods help conserve water while increasing the crop’s yield. Mentors Honduras has stepped in to close the financial support gap needed to fully empower families away from poverty.
Mentors Honduras is providing small loans 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” are organizations that wanted to give back and are helping in the process of marketing the farming produce that will soon be sold throughout 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,” said Otoniel Manley, Executive Director of Mentors Honduras.
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 outcome.”
Farmers will be certified in sweet potato crops if they harvest with high quality, we are expecting them to become mentors to their peers as well. A certificate will be provided by Mentors Honduras and USAID.