When it comes to planting corn seeds, sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Experiencing days of drought or having pesticide problems are usually the more common issues faced; however, every once in a while mechanical problems arise and have the potential to threaten the entire planting process. This was the case in Semilla Nueva’s experimental center in the municipality of San Jose La Maquina, Suchitepeque. Luckily, our experienced and quick thinking staff knew exactly how to handle the problem and ensure that a day of work on the fields was not lost.
Adolfo Pop Caal is one of Semilla Nueva’s field workers on our experimental plots. He works to maintain our biofortified corn crops in those areas and ensure that despite all outside factors, our crops are still able to flourish and thrive. This requires regular cutting of the grass to maintain the plot. However, when Adolfo tried to start the machine, as usual, to cut the grass one day, it wouldn’t start. Instead of throwing in the towel losing an entire day of field work, Adolfo used his quick thinking and recalled on traditional agriculture techniques.
Adolfo got right to work and pulled out a very sharp machete (large knife) and garabato (Guatemalan slang for a wooden hook) to cut the grass manually. Using the garabato in his right hand to grab the long blades of grass, he used his left to whack away at them with the machete. This technique is actually the traditional way of cutting grass in Guatemala. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see workers walking to work in the morning all over the country with machetes hanging off their backs.
Adolfo exemplified his determination and commitment to the job that day. Here at Semilla Nueva, we couldn’t be prouder of our workers on the fields and the dedication they have for the art of harvesting our biofortified corn seed every day.