It’s been a little over a month since I started my internship with AsoFenix, and my role in the organization is taking shape.
I am working with farmers who are undergoing major transitions after installing solar powered irrigation systems.
Farmers here would grow corn, millet and beans during the rainy season and leave for Costa Rica for agricultural work (many pick coffee) for several months during the dry season. Now, with access to water, they can continue to produce food year round and continue to make their living during the dry season. The problem is, they are now growing crops they have very little experience with, such as tomatoes, carrots and onions to name a few.
Roughly nine months ago, an agronomist worked with these farmers to provide technical assistance with crops they were unfamiliar growing. He advised them all to start using chemicals.
Chemicals are expensive, they deplete soil organic matter over time, and they can be a health hazard to the farmer.
The agronomist has left. The farmers are using chemicals and they are still lacking technical information. Some crops show signs of poor soil health and pest attacks (which are more likely to occur in poor soil).
My job is to work with farmers to create an organic agriculture curriculum based on soil development and conservation. I am also working to connect farmers to resources and organizations in Nicaragua that they can continue to utilize after I have completed my internship and left the country.
I have teamed up with a farmer who has a small piece of land, and a strong desire to farm without chemicals. We started last week by building his first compost pile and double digging a 200 square foot raised bed to serve as a pilot project for biointensive farming. The goal is to turn his small farm into a learning center of sorts…
The farmers nearby are watching us closely.