Demonstration Farms Offer Training to Communities Affected by Drought
Washington, D.C (November 18, 2015) – A new program funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) will enhance the ability of thousands of vulnerable farmers in Guatemala’s “Dry Corridor” to withstand cyclical droughts.
Funded by USAID/OFDA and implemented by the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) in collaboration with the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG), the “Yo Me Adapto” (I Adapt) project will promote climate-smart agricultural practices in drought-stricken communities in the Dry Corridor. The project will improve agricultural productivity and rural livelihoods for approximately 9,000 people in the municipalities of Sanarate and Sansare in Guatemala’s El Progreso Department.
Recurring droughts over the past several years have led to crop losses, severely affecting the food supply in these underserved communities. The two-year project builds on and expands an existing network of Rural Development Learning Centers (CADERs) run by Guatemala’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA).
“While farming has always been challenging in the region, repeated drought at critical times during the crop cycle is eroding food security,” says Liza Mantilla, director of disaster management at PADF. “We are pleased to work with USAID and local partners in Guatemala to expand a farmer-to-farmer approach to deliver knowledge and practical support for improved productivity.”
Through the program, PADF and UVG will establish a master demonstration farm, which will serve as a training ground for government technicians and community leaders to learn about best practices and cost-efficient technologies for climate-smart agriculture. PADF will also establish 20 new rural centers to teach sustainable farming practices including rainwater harvesting and irrigation technologies; crop diversification; soil conservation methods; vermicomposting; and reforestation.
“This project is an effort to build the capacity of rural communities whose livelihoods are threatened by prolonged drought,” says Fernando Castañaza, PADF's senior program manager in Guatemala. “By increasing the resilience of farmers and helping to adapt their farming techniques to a changing climate, we will improve food security and promote lasting change. These farmers will have the skills and tools to adapt the changing climate.”
PADF will also provide additional trainings in entrepreneurship, leadership and civic engagement, and award grants to 20 rural learning centers to develop an action plan for income generation.
The Pan American Development Foundation, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, brings together many stakeholders to improve livelihoods, empower communities, strengthen civil society, support human rights, protect the environment and respond to natural disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean. Established by the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1962, PADF has worked in every country in the region. In 2014, PADF reached more than 15 million people by investing over $92 million in development resources in 27 Latin American and Caribbean countries.
This project is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The U.S. Agency for International Development administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.
*The contents are the responsibility of PADF and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.