Semilla Nueva - New Seed

Farmer to Farmer Development

Over 750,000 families make a living off of growing corn and beans in Guatemala. How can we reach so many people? Farmer to farmer development is a strategy and a philosophy. It means that farmers can find the best solutions to their problems, and that farmers are the best educators and organizers in their community. Farmer to farmer depends on teaching three skills that help rural communities move from dependence to thriving.

Many of Guatemala’s farmers never completed elementary school. Small scale experimentation enables them to scientifically try a new idea on a small part of their land. Starting small minimizes the risk in trying new ideas, and allows anyone to participate.
We teach farmers how to take what they have learned from an experiment and run it through a cost benefit analysis, including environmental, social, and economic factors. Instead of keeping farmers dependent on outside information and promoting one size fits all solutions, we help farmers judge new ideas based on what is most beneficial to them in their local context.
We teach leadership and communication skills, and ask farmers to pay it forward. Through organizing conferences and field visits in their community, participating farmers give their neighbors a chance to see new technologies working with their own eyes.

Farmer to Farmer is not simply about effectively getting new ideas into the hands of farmers, it is also about community empowerment. Experimentation, analysis and sharing are activities that help anyone become a leader and a change-maker in their community. And as farmers hone these skills, they begin to come up with their own new farming innovations, which they can now share with their community and others. Farmer to farmer is a key tool to unlock the innovative and transformative potential farmers already have, and help them become the true protagonists in rural development.

See Farmer to Farmer Development in action in this video:

Part 1

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