Sowing Opportunities’ Innovative Solutions to create Sustainability, and help reduce Poverty and Malnutrition in Chajmaic, Guatemala
On March 15, 2022, our agricultural engineer, Federico Arriola Cuéllar, traveled to the indigenous, remote village of Chajmaic to work for two months with 30 families who have shown leadership in the community. Federico has set up training sessions where he conducted a pilot project, teaching one member of each family to do greenhouse farming and he is helping them to establish individual greenhouses in their backyards. Federico conducted a new needs assessment within the first two weeks, following up on the one that was completed in Chajmaic by Sowing Opportunities project manager Ricardo San José Roca and agricultural engineer Antonio Longo Arcia in August 2020. Ricardo was present for the startup of the pilot project to make introductions and to ensure that things run smoothly. Measurements of the project’s success will be conducted at the beginning and at the end of the project. Details are at this link.
Federico is an expert agricultural engineer with a known track record in Guatemala. He has a degree in agricultural engineering from São Paulo, Brazil and an MBA from Managua, Nicaragua. He also received training from the Israeli government on water irrigation. He has worked in the field for nearly 40 years and has had tremendous success, currently working on 10 projects in villages (aldeas) in remote areas of Guatemala as well as outside the capital, Guatemala City, including at a church-run boarding school for children from across Guatemala.
In villages across Guatemala, based on needs assessments and what is native to the area, Federico has helped the people there to set up greenhouses and to grow high yields of corn, black beans, onions, carrots, lettuce, celery, Swiss chard, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, radishes, cilantro, and more. The purpose of his work is to develop food security and training to grow diverse agricultural products in order to eradicate ongoing malnutrition in the area. Sowing Opportunities is fortunate that he has included Chajmaic in his calendar for 2022.
Due to his dedication to the Guatemalan people and our connection, Federico has arranged to come to Chajmaic for a reduced salary. He has also arranged with his suppliers to buy the materials to make the greenhouses, as well as soil, fertilizer, and seeds. Because of the persistent rain in the area, the greenhouses for the 30 families will be constructed of iron, rather than wood, to prevent rapid deterioration.
The cost of the two-month project will be $22,619, which will include training so that the 30 families will learn the skills necessary to grow vegetables, maintain their greenhouses, and be able to feed their families and develop independent livelihoods to sell their produce.