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Cultivating a Legacy: Beltrán Ventura’s experience with biofortified hybrids 

Don Beltrán Ventura and his 2023 harvest.

Beltrán Ventura Tum developed a deep respect for the land and a love of farming by accompanying his father to the field as a young boy. “From the time I was little, my father stressed the importance of respecting and caring for the land, and I saw him take great pride in his work,” Beltrán explains.

Beltrán, his wife María, and their 10 children reside in Chivon, San Andrés, Quiché, a mountainous region of central Guatemala. Every June, they cultivate a little under an acre of land near their home. Beltrán and María are respected members of their community, always ready to lend a hand to their neighbors. Whether offering advice on crop rotations or sharing their harvest, they are known for their willingness to help others in need.

Before adopting Semilla Nueva’s hybrids three years ago, Beltrán’s yields were often low, especially during periods of drought. “If the weather was bad, I’d lose most of my harvest and whatever was left was of such low quality that I couldn’t sell it. Using Semilla Nueva’s seeds, I always have better harvests and more corn to sell.” Beltrán’s experience confirms our monitoring and evaluation results that show that farmers using our seed experience 54% fewer crop losses due to extreme weather.

For Beltrán, these seeds mean more than better yields and nutrition; they represent a better future for his family. With the added income he receives from his harvest, Beltrán has been able to invest in his children’s education and other basic needs. He recently purchased a corn sheller to remove corn kernels from the cob. ‘What used to take me and my family weeks to do by hand, can now be done in a couple of hours. We can use the time saved for more productive activities,’ he reports.”

Beltrán alongside and his new corn sheller.

Beltrán loans his sheller to others in the community, just asking them to pay for the gasoline it uses. “I’m glad to be able to save time for my neighbors, too.”

Beltrán hopes that other farmers will be able to purchase shellers and other equipment to improve their yields and help others in his community and neighboring areas. “We want our communities to thrive and to be able to give our families and children better opportunities,” he says.

Beltrán sees farming as a vocation and a legacy passed down by his father–not just a means to provide for his family. “I am committed to sharing with my children the same values of hard work and respect for the land my father shared with me.”