Susan Reuter via Crowdrise
April 23, 2012
SEMILLA NUEVA wrote -
Semilla Nueva has dedicated over three years to addressing the root causes of poverty in rural Guatemala. This year YOU can help us introduce a new variety of an old crop—with a potential to help thousands of families rejuvenate their soils, increase their incomes, and provide nutritious food to their families. This campaign will provide 100 families in ten communities with pigeonpea seed.
Pigeonpea, or gandul, is a bean Semilla Nueva is introducing to our farmer participants in the coastal communities where we work. Although already grown in Guatemala, most local varieties are very low-yield and don't grow well in association with other crops. Our pigeonpea variety is easily grown in the dry season and on marginal land.
What is the need for pigeonpea?
- Guatemala has the highest rate of malnutrition in the western hemisphere
- Farmers don’t have a local bean crop and have to buy beans from other regions, even though, on average they eat beans 3x a day
- Soil degradation is further impoverishing farmers because each year they have to buy and use more chemical fertilizer to produce the same yield
Pigeonpea provides an amazing opportunity to alleviate all of these problems faced by rural Guatemalan farmers.
Semilla Nueva's pigeonpea variety can be planted in between farmers’ already existing corn or sesame rows during the growing season. It can help farmers grow between 300 and 1,400 more pounds of high protein food per acre, greatly increasing their income. Pigeonpea is also a source of protein, vitamins and minerals for Guatemalan farmers to incorporate into their diet. It is one of the quickest ways farmers can find their own lasting solution to childhood malnutrition, which stunts the growth of nearly half the country's children. Because pigeonpea is a legume, it enriches the soil through nitrogen fixation, rejuvenating the soil and acting as a cost-saving natural fertilizer. Pigeonpea is a tool to help the poor grow their way out of poverty.
About the Project
Last year over 30 farmers planted a row of pigeonpea. Watching the bean survive the dry season and produce large amounts of food generated excitement and interest in all our partner communities. This year, Semilla Nueva has over 100 farmers signed up to plant 1/4 acre parcels of pigeonpea. And that's where you come in!
1/4 acre parcels are the perfect size. With 1/4 acre, farmers see pigeonpea succeeding on their own land. They also grow enough seed to plant the rest of their fields the next year and pass on extra seed to their neighbors--paying us back by helping others. Lastly, 1/4 acre will leave enough pigeonpea for farmers to begin incorporating this protein and nutrient rich bean into their diet.
To make this project possible, we need enough seed for all our farmers by the September planting season. The funds from this campaign will be used to plant pigeonpea now and generate this necessary seed.
This campaign isn't just about these hundred farmers, but about a new way of farming that can continue changing Guatemala long after our campaign ends.
Semilla Nueva Mission
To help rural communities gain economic independence and rejuvenate their land through hands-on education and collaborative sustainable agriculture projects.
is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to helping small farmers in Guatemala escape poverty through sustainable agriculture technologies and farmer to farmer organization. Semilla Nueva was founded in 2009 and works with local farmer volunteers in ten communities in Guatemala’s southern coast. We collaborate with our partner farmers to try new agricultural technologies and then share the results with their neighbors—developing local experience, expertise, and leadership.
What does Semilla Nueva do?
Semilla Nueva works with local farmer volunteers, called promotores, to collaboratively experiment on new technologies and then share those results with farmers' communities. This process takes place through the formation of sustainable agriculture groups, where farmers work together to explore new ideas and share them with their group. Semilla Nueva works to help farmers develop the leadership to continue this process of experimentation, innovation, and organization even after the organization has left.
For more information, check out our website: