It’s a really exciting time for us here at Semilla Nueva. We’re currently in the midst of farmer field days, where we’re showing off our newest Fortaleza corn seeds. Fortaleza is our biofortified seed brand, one of our main strategies at Semilla Nueva, that competes in the market undifferentiated from other seeds.
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.
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?
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.
“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.
One of the best things about being part of Semilla Nueva is sharing what we do with other people – and every year, we have two opportunities to do that in a big way – through our Semilla Nueva service trips!
On Wednesday, August 13th 2015, 14 organizations came together to sign an agreement and officially launch the Plataforma BioFORT in Guatemala. The event was held in the sunny garden of Guatemala’s Ministry of Agriculture (MAGA) and featured brief presentations by several representatives from the founding institutions. Plataforma BioFORT is a multi-institutional effort to coordinate knowledge, resources, and manpower across organizations in Guatemala to promote and further develop biofortified crops. The ultimate goal is to bring these highly nutritious crops to more rural families and reduce malnutrition rates across the country. Continue reading “14 Organizations Sign Agreement to Unite Efforts for a Biofortified Guatemala”
The walls of the Semilla Nueva office are lined with photos of the various “generations” of the organization –a pictorial view of the people and projects that have been part of our journey. Scanning through them evokes many of the same reactions as looking at one’s own childhood photo album – both feelings of pride as to how far we’ve come, as well as questions like, “how did we think THAT was a good idea?” Continue reading “Semilla Nueva Joins the International Conversation on Sustainable Agriculture”
Malnutrition and the Potential of QPM in Guatemala
In Semilla Nueva’s communities, only 1 out of every 2 children is malnourished. The word “only” sounds disturbing in that sentence, but 50% sounds like a reasonable figure when compared to 70%, or the percentage of children that face chronic malnutrition within rural indigenous communities in Guatemala. Guatemala struggles with hunger on a frightening scale – ranked as the country with the 4th highest rate of chronic malnutrition.
Can you believe we’re already half way through the year? Neither can we. Check out the photoblog we’ve put together to review our year so far in photos.