“We learned simple cultivation methods and organic farming methods, how to build irrigation systems and warehouses, how to start growing new vegetables and how to sell and market products. We also realized that it is no use fertilizing the soil through slash and burn if you want to use the land for many years,” explains Roberto Hernández López from Nicaragua. The farm now produces lemons, oranges and maize as well as different types of vegetables for sale. The family’s income increased as a result of a broader-based production.
According to Lopez, training led to changes in attitudes and the success helped people to believe in their own skills. However, information and training were not enough. People also needed perseverance because not all farmers growing vegetables with irrigation were successful. According to Hernández López, they did not work hard enough in an arid area.
Between 2004 and 2011, Finland supported a rural development program in Nicaragua, which helped poor farmers to succeed by providing them with training and a small monetary grant.
Photo: Outi Einola-Head, graphics: Juho Hiilivirta