Guatemala City, Guatemala (May 4, 2016) – As Guatemala faces its worst drought in decades, the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) is helping thousands of farmers in the Dry Corridor cope with recurring drought and combat food insecurity through a new program funded by the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA).
The “Yo Me Adapto” (I Adapt) project will improve the lives of approximately 9,000 vulnerable people in the municipalities of Sansare and Sanarate in Guatemala’s El Progreso Department by teaching farmers climate-smart agriculture in order to maximize crop yields. This 20-month initiative, carried out in partnership with the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala (UVG), expands an existing network of Rural Development Learning Centers (CADERs) run by Guatemala’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA).
PADF and partners have established a demonstration farm, or learning center, in Sanarate, Guatemala, to train 1,500 farming families. The center will showcase climate-smart agricultural practices such as greenhouses, a weather station, as well as rain catchment and efficient irrigation systems. Farmers will learn how to determine the best varietals of crops to plant including beans, corn and sorghum. They will also learn methods of soil conservation and the benefits of crop diversification. Project oversight is provided by an advisory board of representatives from government agencies, international organizations and the private sector.
“PADF has found great partners in UVG and MAGA to help local farmers be better prepared for the impact of climate change. The response from the community has been very strong and people are working to improve their livelihoods,” says Fernando Enrique Castañaza, PADF Senior Project Manager in Guatemala. “These demonstration farms give the local community the skills and tools to implement sustainable solutions.”
PADF and partners will also establish 20 Rural Development Learning Centers (CADERs) to serve as a training ground for community leaders. To date, PADF has signed agreements with the municipalities of Sansare and Sanarate and has conducted a baseline survey of the needs in the region. The project has provided motorcycles to municipal technicians for travel between rural demonstration sites. PADF is also raising awareness and disseminating information to the community across social networks.
“The long-term strategy is to empower farmers to plan, innovate and expand their activities, much like entrepreneurs,” says Caterina Valero, Senior Programs Director at PADF. “It’s an effort to support economic growth in the region.”
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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. www.padf.org
This information product 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 (USAID) administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide. www.usaid.gov
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