Friday, July 31, 2015

Mushrooms are Making a Difference in Guatemala

Oyster mushrooms and other specialty mushrooms are a growing business in Guatemala and elsewhere. Farmer-to-Farmer has been assisting Asociación Visión Maya in improving production practices and addressing other issues in the mushroom value chain. Partners' Vice President for Development Programs Peggy Carlson (far right) recently visited Visión Maya and got to see the operation first-hand and talk to some of the women about the impact of the program.

The women worked with two F2F volunteers - Dr. Khalid Hameed and Dr. Henry Van Cotter from Duke University) - earlier this year who made some recommendations about modifying production systems. Action items for the various cooperative members including making changes to improve environmental conditions, developing better monitoring systems, and even smaller items, such as clearer labeling of the production bags with dates and strains. The producers have already been making changes and seeing results. One woman moved her whole production unit from her patio to a room attached to the 2nd floor of her house so that she could raise the bags above floor level, surround the production unit with plastic to better maintain temperature and humidity control, and more closely monitor the mushrooms. Other producers have made changes as well (to read more about these volunteer's assignment - check out this story).

"For me, the best part of the visit was listening to the women talk about the impact that being part of Visión Maya has had on their lives. One woman said that when her child was sick, she paid for the hospital bills with her mushroom money. Another shared how she feels empowered by being able to contribute to her household resources. A third said that joining the group gave her a chance to be a part of a social group and interact with other women in her community. These stories show how F2F and mushrooms are making a difference in Guatemala." - Peggy Carlson

Stay tuned to our blog to find out more about mushrooms and other great F2F projects in the region!

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