Who We Are
Vía 4, 01-00, Zona 4
Edificio Campus Tecnológico
Torre 2, Oficina 1102
Guatemala, Guatemala 01004
P.O. BOX 8643
Boise, ID 83707
Semilla Nueva has just ended another successful field day season with one last event in the sunny town of Cuilapa, Santa Rosa, a two-hour drive away from the capital.
Every year between February and May, at the height of the dry season, and just before farmers choose the seed they will plant for the year, our field teams travel around the country, organizing field days to promote our biofortified maize seeds. It’s hard work to gather this many farmers, but it’s worth it.
Our teams post flyers in popular agrodealers’ shops, send WhatsApp invitations to farmers and community leaders, make countless calls, and even drive hours to some of Guatemala’s most isolated communities to make sure our invites reach those who’ll benefit the most from our seeds.
When farmers choose a new seed, they want to know what to expect. They like to see for themselves how it grows in the field and learn new techniques to maximize their harvests. Our field days are the perfect opportunity for them to get this information.
During these events, farmers learn about our seed’s yields and nutritional benefits. We explain how our subsidy program allows us to sell seeds at such a low price, and answer questions about how tall the plant grows, how well it resists certain pests or diseases, which fertilizer to use, and how much to apply.
Field days take place on Semilla Nueva demonstration parcels located around the country, where farmers can observe the plants’ attractive characteristics, such as uniform height, strong and abundant roots, and strong stems, which help them respond better to extreme weather conditions.
Field days are special moments for us. They allow us to meet and build relationships with farmers from all over the country, even the most marginalized ones who do not have access to improved seeds due to low incomes, geographical distance or lack of access to digital communication. Farmers learn about our seed’s economic and health benefits, where to buy them, and how to grow them. They even get to try our tasty biofortified tortillas.
These events also allow us to get feedback from farmers and better understand their needs. Depending on the region they are from, farmers face different challenges and have different expectations regarding what constitutes a good maize seed. We use everything we learn during our field days to develop even better biofortified seeds for the future. In this sense, field days are just as helpful for us as they are for farmers – and well worth spending a day in the blazing sun.
Semilla Nueva Farmer, Daniel Leal Xe (39) and his family, wife Vilma (29) and daughters, Elda (13) and Katherine (6) live in a small community known as “Rocja Tzin”, Cobán, Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Three hours from the nearest city and accessible only by poorly-maintained dirt roads, the isolation means his community has no electricity, no running water and is provided very minimal support from the local government.
With a roundtrip ticket to town costing the equivalent of 2 days wage (about $16 USD), Daniel and his family must rely on their crops to provide food and income where their resources are limited.
Daniel shared with us that he began planting Semilla Nueva seeds because he heard our seeds were higher yielding, and with two growing daughters at home, it was important to him to have enough food to feed his family.
When asked if becoming a Semilla Nueva farmer has helped his family, Daniel had this to say:
“Semilla Nueva has changed my life! Not only did Semilla Nueva’s Fortaleza seeds almost triple my corn production from 32 qq/Mz to 80 qq/MZ, but I was also able to harvest much faster than most of my friends who do not use Semilla Nueva seeds. I was able to share my extra corn with a neighboring family who had nothing to eat while waiting for their harvest, and it felt great that I could help my community.”
To show his gratitude, Daniel asked us to share this message with our donors and supporters:
“I want to thank Semilla Nueva and the donors because of their great job at helping people and promoting food security. Please continue to help other communities around because I know these seeds can change the life of the people who need it most.”
Daniel and his family are just one example of the 27,000 farmers we hope to reach with better corn in 2023. With your help, we can grow our impact and support the most remote and at-need farmers in Guatemala and El Salvador.
Until December 31st, all gifts to Semilla Nueva will be matched and tripled up to $150,000 through a generous donation from our friends at Dovetail Impact Foundation and board member, Dave Smith. Donate today and triple your impact!
We have always felt that Semilla Nueva has a deep promise to fulfill; that so much passion from so many people had to be leading to something big. 2013 was the year we truly began to see that promise become a reality. Four times as many farmers experimented with new farming techniques this year. We ran a census that showed hundreds of families following our farmer leaders’ examples and changing their practices. (more…)
What can we say about Trini Recinos? A pastor’s heart, an academic’s mind, and a best friend’s compassion. Those who’ve met him know his easy-going personality, his jokes, his smooth crooning voice, and his dedication to his work. Trini has been with Semilla Nueva from the beginning. In fact, since before the beginning.
“If you give me a fish, you have fed me for a day. If you teach me how to fish you have fed me until the river is contaminated or the shoreline seized for development. But if you teach me to organize then whatever the challenge I can join together with my peers and we will fashion our own solution.”
By Patricia Bowen, Semilla Nueva Intern
This post was originally posted on Everyday Ambassador’s blog. The “Wednesday Wisdom” blog is a weekly series curated by Everyday Ambassador partnerships director Meg VanDeusen. Every Wednesday, they feature updates from their partners and reflections from the Everyday Ambassador community. To stay current with their latest posts, follow #wednesdaywisdom or #wordstoliveby on our other platforms, and check back regularly for updates.
Last week three donors flew down to Guatemala from Boise, Idaho with one goal: to see, feel, smell and taste the work of Semilla Nueva. This trip is designed for people who want to be at the heart of the hands-on, day-to-day work of Semilla Nueva in rural communities. Donors immersed themselves in Guatemalan culture by spending a week working alongside farmers in their communities.
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