The Rotary Global Grant: Fueling Semilla Nueva’s Next Phase into Self-Sufficiency

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Jaime Quevedo from the Quetzaltenango Rotary Club volunteers with community seed distribution, May 2016

Semilla Nueva owes a great deal of its present success to Rotary. Rotary has been Semilla Nueva’s core source of support throughout the organization’s evolution, and without its generosity, the depth of Semilla Nueva’s growth in recent years would not have been possible.

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What the buzzword ‘Sustainability’ really means to Semilla Nueva and how One Day’s Wages is helping us to ensure we achieve it

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Six years ago, the founders of Semilla Nueva envisioned the development of sustainable systems to improve the lives of families in Guatemala through agricultural technologies.

That remains our goal. Yet what does that mean – what is sustainable? The word has become diluted in the development world, tossed around to mean anything from earth-friendly to viable long-term. Out of context the word has become basically meaningless.

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The Journey of a QPM Seed

It’s the middle of the night, and we are driving across Guatemala in a semi-truck. It is filled with 1,283 bags of QPM, highly nutritious corn seed for farming families to plant, harvest, and save for years to come. We drive through dawn to get the bags to southern coast so that Semilla Nueva farming families can have their seed in time for the rain. Over the past two months our team has witnessed an incredible journey of this corn from the cob to a fully processed seed, bagged and ready for the soil of rural corn fields in Guatemala.

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Social Marketing Changed Everything We Thought About Nutrition: A New Approach to Get Farmers to Share QPM

Semilla Nueva Field Technician Hugo holds his seven-year-old son Jander as he addressed farming families gathered from 40 communities across the southern coast of Guatemala at April’s Farmer Field Day.
Semilla Nueva Field Technician Hugo holds his seven-year-old son Jander as he addresses farming families gathered from 40 communities across the southern coast of Guatemala at April’s Farmer Field Day.

We all feel proud when we can grow and give our families corn and tortillas. What is more Guatemalan than a family sitting around the table sharing tortillas? Imagine the table where your family eats with a basket of hot tortillas. You grab one- it is soft and tastes sweet. After eating, your family feels energized and they stay full for hours. These tortillas come from a new kind of corn called FORTALEZA, the corn that gives you and your family strength.

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QPM: Planting Protein for the Rural Poor

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Malnutrition impedes the cognitive, emotional, and physical development of half of the children in Guatemala under the age of five. Without access to essential vitamins and minerals, stunted motor and cognitive development early in life makes it close to impossible to achieve economic and social prosperity. How can we at Semilla Nueva help enhance the nutrition of these children so that they have a chance to thrive later in life?

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Plataforma BioFORT: Joining Forces to Target Malnutrition and Enhance Rural Livelihoods

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It is not every day that you find yourself entering a room filled with humble farmers donning denim and cowboy boots alongside titled professionals in tailored suits. A space in which findings shared by researchers are followed by off-the-cuff open discussion, with moments of culture clash as seemingly opposite worlds collide.

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Farmers Hit by Drought in 2015 – And How You Can Help!

 

“It makes me sad just to look at it because of everything I’ve invested in it,” Wilson Reyes tells us as we take in his dry corn field. “I’ve invested around 10,000 Quetzales in this land: in seeds, fertilizer, labor, insecticides… but I’m not going to be able to get it back.” That’s roughly $1,400 USD and no small chunk of change for a rural Guatemalan farmer. Legal minimum wage for agricultural work in Guatemala is roughly $3,600 per year (MAGA), but an independent corn farmer’s work is seasonal and unpredictable, usually leading to real wages of far less than that. 

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