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.
Proyecto: Buena Milpa
Semilla Nueva ha estado trabajando muy de cerca con CIMMYT desde hace cinco años, en capacitaciones, diseño de investigación y sistemas de innovación. Semilla Nueva y CIMMYT, junto con otras instituciones nacionales en Guatemala, están buscando crear un sistema que esté conectado a la investigación y extensión, que sea más dinámico e innovador.
Tuvimos la oportunidad de conversar con Dr. Elias Raymundo Raymundo actual Gerente General del Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología Agrícola (ICTA) acerca de la reunión número 60 del PCCMCA, que se llevará a cabo en la Ciudad de Guatemala este año 2015.
¿Cómo podemos crear alimentos más nutritivos para toda la población? Alimentos como el arroz, camote, papa, yuca, maíz y frijol. En nuestro primer boletín del Comité Nacional de Biofortificación presentamos a los investigadores guatemaltecos del Instituto de Ciencia y Tecnología (ICTA) quienes dirigen el desarrollo de cultivares biofortificados en Guatemala. A continuación se presentan los perfiles de los investigadores, información sobre sus esfuerzos y sus esperanzas con respecto a la biofortificación en Guatemala.