High in the mountainside of Madriz, Nicaragua, is the small community of Las Sabanas. This agro-town of approximately 4,500 inhabitants, borders with Honduras just over 1,200 meters above sea level. In this semi-humid region, beans, chia and coffee are traditional crops. However, Evelio and a group of young farmers, are disrupting agriculture, growing crops that had never been produced before in the region.
28-year-old Evelio is considered a leader in his community. Thanks to his hard work, and with support from Fabretto, the agent of change has been able to contribute to the local economy by doing something completely different than what was taught by elders: getting an education to diversify produce.
Through Fabretto’s SAT program, Evelio became the first in his family to graduate from high school. Thanks to a project funded by the The Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN) and the Japan Special Fund for Poverty Reduction (JPO), he has also been given an opportunity to help make a difference by implementing innovative agricultural techniques that increase and improve local production, all while protecting the environment. In a community where most families traditionally practice subsistence farming, managing a new type of produce like strawberries is a game changer.
In Las Sabanas, the land is just as much a part of the community as its members are. In fact to some extent, here, land seems to prevail. There is a respect for the sacred soil that provides life to the far off community that is deep in the heart of Evelio. It is with that respect that, today, along with a group of 12 young farmers who work with him, Evelio stands proud in the middle of a strawberry field. He is highly knowledgable about cultivating and harvesting strawberries in Nicaragua’s tropical climate. The young farmer is able to yield two harvests per year, which keeps him more than busy. He wants to continue working on helping other young farmers like him to become self-sufficient.
Since November 2017, the group of 12 young farmers led by Evelio has been able to produce over 400,000 pounds of organic strawberries, which, thanks to Fabretto, are now being sold all across Nicaragua. As part of the FOMIN-JPO Project, Fabretto has created an alliance with food industry companies like Semillas y Cosechas, allowing the buyer to purchase directly from origin with no intermediaries. Other buyers include partners like the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Nicaragua, who have also sponsored international agricultural trainings for Fabretto rural communities.
“I’ve grown as a local entrepreneur. The work I’ve been able to achieve has been of great benefit to my family and community. I am considered a leader and a person of great respect,” commented Evelio.
About FOMIN-JPO Project:
Over 1,800 youth benefit from quality technical and vocational education to help increase employability and support the local economy. The project is carried out by Fabretto, through the implementation its Rural Secondary Education Program –SAT, which mixes models for formal and vocational training that allow rural youth to improve their access and links to high-value supply chains and markets. The project targets rural youth living in three regions of Nicaragua: the Southern Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region (RACCS), Madriz, and Nueva Segovia.