One of the many agricultural lecture/workshops at Chuya Yaku.
This was the farm of Abel Canelos and Yolanda Vargas
This is the second report on my Partners of the Americas' USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) volunteer assignment to Puyo Ecuador. In the first report, I outlined my schedule, and explained a bit of what the purpose of the project was about. In this second article, I would like to detail a little more on the work done, the communities and some of the folks that I was fortunate enough to get to know. And as stated before, I feel privileged to have been able to work this project for Farmer-to-Farmer program.
Each week that I was in Ecuador, it seemed that there was less and less time to get things done. In Chuya Yaku, where the majority of the work was conducted, 8 out of 10 farms in this Kichwa territory participated in the trainings and workshops. The size of the groups attending these sessions ranged anywhere from 5 to 28 people. There were 9 to 12 people that attended regularly, and then others from the community would attend for reasons of curiosity, or for wanting to know more about the subject that was being lectured and/or practiced that day. Each session had a topic that was discussed or reviewed before the group went out to the cacao field to prune. These topics ranged from proper pruning methods, grafting techniques, making homemade (organic) pesticides, and ways to increase yield, to soil characteristics including erosion prevention, soil structure, soil pH and nutrient availability, to organic material, etc.).
Cristian Kaisar of Chuya Yaku trying out the new pole
pruner on cacao at the farm of Doña Clara Santí.
By the end of the 10 weeks, the majority of the cacao trees on each one of these 8 farms were correctly pruned, and a schedule for spaying was set up to combat the ever-advancing Monilia disease.
Another community I was conducting lecture/workshops in was Esfuerzo II. This community is in a different situation altogether. A few years back they started a project where they took the organic trash from the markets in Puyo twice a month. With this organic trash, they would clean it, chop up large pieces and mix in biol, rice hulls, etc. and let it compost. After 6 weeks, they had rich compost which they would put in bags and sell them at $6.00 each. It sold well. Over time, they were able to take their earnings and construct a greenhouse adjacent to their warehouse. The main point of the workshops here were growing crops in this green-house, as well as learning to graft, especially citrus trees.
The community of Esfurezo II turning the organic
material and working the compost business.
|Success in the greenhouse of Esfuerzo II.|
|Students at 10 de Agosto watering in the seeds they had |
just planted in their covered garden area.
|Part of the community of Kilometer 6 at a workshop.|
This meeting included planting up vegetables in seed trays
Once again, I am grateful to Farmer to Farmer, Partners of the Americas, and USAID for the opportunity they have given me in this ‘adventure’ of a life time. I can only hope that the progress in agricultural development continues for these four communities.