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 would like to warmly welcome our very first Development Fellows, Haley Kirk and Lisa Eash! The Fellowship Program at Semilla Nueva is a 6.5 month long placement for individuals who want to further their on-the-ground experience in non-profit management and agricultural development.
“Purchasing pigeonpea from small-holder farmers in Guatemala and selling it internationally to create a market that will increase income for farmers and make Semilla Nueva financially stable”, that is Curt Bowen’s vision.
Nine organizations both national and international came together with Semilla Nueva’s farmers and their families at the first National Farmer Conference at the Semilla Nueva Experimental and Training Center Wednesday, October 29th.