Empowering Rural Nicaraguan Coffee Farmers

Contact name: Christa Countryman
Email: christac@agros.org
Phone: 206.528.1066
Project URL: www.agros.org
Organization Name: Agros International

Project: Empowering Rural Nicaraguan Coffee Farmers
Location: Nicaragua
Projected Impact: 5,000

Project Description
Julio and Santa-6 copyAgros exists to restore hope and opportunity to the world’s poor, and in 2014 and 2015 we are scaling our work to reach more people than ever before in Nicaragua, Latin America’s second poorest country. Over 58 percent of Nicaraguans live in poverty and more than 29 percent in extreme poverty. Two out of three individuals barely survive on a little more than $1.00 a day.

In Nicaragua, poverty is an overwhelmingly rural problem. Less than half of the population lives outside of the country’s cities, yet rural areas house 78 percent of the extreme poor. Almost half, about 46 percent, of extremely poor Nicaraguans live within five departments: Jinotega, Matagalpa, Boaco, Madriz, and Nueva Segovia.

Eighty percent of rural poor Nicaraguans depend on agriculture for their livelihood. The most vulnerable are rural families who operate small-scale farms and landless families working as day laborers on farms owned by others. Battered by an endless cycle of failure and catastrophe, poor farmers have no access to markets to sell their crops, they lack quality seeds and fertilizer, and they have little training in modern agricultural techniques, if they have any at all. Through its holistic, integrated model, Agros works collaboratively with these families as they build resilience and achieve sustainable livelihoods.

Agros currently works with six agricultural communities in Nicaragua, serving 127 families, roughly 1,442 individuals. We work with these farming families to make sure that they have the tools and the training that they need to grow the best possible crops for personal consumption and to sell in order to feed and support their families. Approximately 65 percent of Agros families grow coffee, a significant cash crop that takes skill, time, and unique conditions to grow successfully. Agros works to empower these farmers with specialized training, inputs, and support to bring these crops to the highest possible yield and allow the farmers to gain various skills and knowledge that they can use to succeed in the long term. This includes assistance and training in how to manage crop diseases such as Roya, a growing problem in worldwide coffee production. Thanks to the diligence and expertise of our agriculture technicians, and the growing knowledge of these rural coffee farmers, this disease affects very few crops in Agros’ villages.

Agros strives to help rural agricultural communities work their way out of extreme poverty through a series of interventions that go far beyond critical support in farming. With land access as the cornerstone of our model, we empower our communities with the tools for success in three areas: health and well-being, financial empowerment, and market-led agriculture, including infrastructure support and access to education.

In 2014 and 2015, Agros will be launching the first of three planned regional projects. These projects are designed to build on the strengths of our village model, and expand our impact to include whole regions in which Agros communities will serve as hubs for learning and access to resources such as clean water, education, and agricultural support. The Nicaragua regional project is expected to reach at least 5,000 people in the first five years.

What You Can Do to Help
Julio and Santa-4 copyAgros International’s work is made possible through donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations who support our mission to end poverty. We welcome anyone who is interested to visit our website, www.agros.org, to make a gift that will help families gain the resources that they need to succeed for their extended future.

Our One Seed Gift Catalog has great ideas for smaller gifts that you can give in the name of a friend or loved one: oneseed.agros.org.

Agros is developing a group sponsorship and educational program designed for women interested in learning more about poverty and how they can become involved in Agros’ work. Contact Claire at clairet@agros.org to learn more about this exciting program!

We also invite individuals and corporations to sponsor a table at our annual fundraising event, Tierras de Vida, which means Lands of Life. Bring your friends and colleagues to learn more about what it is that we do and how you can get involved. This year’s event will be held on October 18, 2014, in Seattle, Washington. Contact info@agros.org to learn more.

For those in the Seattle, Washington area, we also host quarterly Direct from the Field events to provide information about our work. To learn when and where, please email clairet@agros.org.

Suggested Reading