For 18 years the members of the community of Santa Anita have been growing coffee. They were a group of displaced people as a result of the 36 year civil war in Guatemala. While the group began as an organic coffee farm, the roya (coffee leaf rust) devastated the majority of the coffee plants, and their livelihood was at stake. Since 2012, De la Gente has been working closely with Santa Anita through our Combat the Roya Program (check out the link to see a video from Santa Anita about the effects of the roya) to ensure that this community didn’t lose their entire source of income. DLG has provided trainings on integrated pest management, development of a coffee tree nursery for replacement plants, as well as agricultural products to combat the roya. Being that they had very little experience using these types of products, DLG identified a need for training in the community. Through this work, and the hard work of the community members, we are proud to say that for the first time, this year Santa Anita will be exporting 6,000 pounds of green coffee through De la Gente. This will be arriving to the U.S. and Canada this summer.
On March 11, 2016 De la Gente implemented a workshop on Responsible Use and Handling of Agricultural Pesticides and Good Agricultural Practices for the community and cooperative of Santa Anita. The program was led by Ing. Hector Carrillo, Regional Advisor for Good Agricultural Practices for Agrequima. This program covered identification of pests and plant nutrient deficiencies, how to properly read pesticide labels to ensure the correct product is being used as well as information in case of intoxication, how to properly apply chemicals, as well as how to prevent contamination for the worker, their family and in the home, and the consumer. There was also a practical section where the farmers were taught proper maintenance of their backpack sprayer, and were offered replacement parts, if needed, by Agrequima. This training was provided for 17 people total, 11 of which were women farmers.
This is the second time De la Gente partnered with Agrequima to implement this program. The first was in San Miguel Escobar where 20 of the SME cooperative members became certified applicators. You can read more about that here. We plan to provide this training to 2 more of the cooperatives in which we work.
We are very proud that we can partner with Guatemalan-led education organizations to implement workshops and trainings so that our farmers are receiving the most up to date and relevant information available. Please support programs like these, to ensure communities and cooperatives are using best and safe practices while working to provide you with the highest quality coffee. We were able to implement this program for only $150, and every little bit helps!