”75% of the world’s undernourished and absolute poor live in rural areas, where most of them are involved in agriculture. Investing in small scale farmers will directly address the world’s hunger problem.”
– Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Small scale farmers in developing countries lack access to appropriate farming inputs. They have very limited resources making it impossible to diversify or expand production.
SHARE’s projects provide agriculture inputs such as seeds, chicks, livestock, tree seedlings, small irrigation equipment and tools. Groups of farm men and women work cooperatively on small enterprises, sharing the risk and the manual labour. Training and advice from the SHARE agriculture technician as well as the appropriate farming inputs give these farmers ‘a hand up’ for success.
SHARE has supported dozens of groups of farmers with a wide variety of agriculture inputs. Here are some recent examples:
In Guatemala a group of women received funding to construct a small shade house to grow tomatoes for the local markets. Another group of families were supported with inputs for gardens growing peas for export.
Groups of youth are supported with inputs for small enterprises. In Brazil a small goat herd was funded and managed by a group of youth. The agriculture technician advised the youth on animal health and local, native feed for the herd to reduce feed costs. In other communities youth manage chicken enterprises selling produce to restaurants and to the school lunch program.
A piggery was built at a residential Mayan school in eastern Guatemala to assist with the school’s agriculture training program. Tools, seeds and tree seedlings were also funded. The 400 students will take their agriculture skills and knowledge back to their 40 remote communities to improve their families’ lives.
Groups of men and women attending literacy circles in rural communities in El Salvador work cooperatively on small gardens for family food or local markets. Women manage small chicken enterprises in their backyards. These small agriculture enterprises diversify family diets and provide income.
Cattle Projects - The "Pass On Principle' at Work
For cattle projects SHARE accepts proposals from groups of 10 or 12 farmers in communities rather than from individual farmers. A community that benefits through a SHARE funded project must agree to the 'pass on principle'. For example, the first female offspring will be 'passed on' to help form a new herd in another community.
With this 'pass on principle' the benefits increase exponentially and beneficiaries are proud of their ability to help others and themselves. SHARE ag techs advise the farmers and inspect the herds.
Families directly benefit, and many others in the community indirectly benefit by being able to buy fresh milk and cheese. Some groups may progress to sell excess milk to local dairies. All groups benefit greatly from calf sales. Steers are sold for meat and heifers for breeding purposes. This has proven to very significant because the sale of even one or two animals a year can increase the annual family income by as much as 40 or 50 percent.
The dairy cattle are obtained locally, and are well adapted to the area climate. The primary breed is a Brahma cross, a dual purpose animal, blending both milk and meat quality. The farm groups maintain about 20 animals. SHARE often provides fencing for the animals, and helps dig ponds for water. SHARE has several cattle projects in El Salvador, Belize and Brazil. Current and past SHARE projects are monitored by SHARE Project Managers.
Sheep and Goat Herds
Local breeds of sheep and goats are able to thrive on the less than ideal farm land of many land settlements. The herds provide milk, cheese and income for small scale farm families. SHARE has funded groups of youth, men and women who cooperatively manage these productive herds of sheep and goats. The agriculture technicians provide extension services, teaching animal health and providing information on use of local native feeds which reduce production costs.
“We do not have the excuse that we cannot grow enough or that we do not know enough about how to eliminate hunger. What remains to be proven is that we care enough, that our expressions of concern are more than rhetoric, that we will no longer accept and ignore the suffering of 53.4 million people who every night go to bed with empty stomachs in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is their right to have access to adequate food to live a healthy and productive life, and it is our duty to respect, protect and guarantee that right.” – THE ECONOMICS OF HUNGER IN LATIN AMERICA, FAO of the United Nations