MEDA Blog - Stories from the Field

Nidia: promoting sustainable development

b2ap3_thumbnail_Nidia-stands-in-front-of-her-house-which-is-flanked-by-her-plantain-crops.gifIn November, I had the opportunity to interview plantain farmers for a week in Rivas, Nicaragua to do a case study on the University of Agriculture and Livestock (EIAG), a partner of MEDA. Nidia de Carmen Yescas is a lead farmer that uses her farmer as a demonstration for other local farmers to see the progress of the technology she uses. Nidia, her husband and her five grown children live on the farm alongside a highway on the outskirts of Rivas, which is located in southwestern Nicaragua.

Nidia and her family had problems with disease in their plantains, which meant little income due to poor quality. The plantain had no resistance to the black weevil and black sigatoka disease.

Sometimes it was hard for Nidia to find markets for her plantain and it sold at poor prices. Nidia Yescas heard about technological development through APLARI, an organization of farmers in Rivas. She decided to try new agro bio-technology being developed at a nearby university lab.

Vitro selection screens plants for certain characteristics. With plantains, it selects for tolerance to diseases, insects and soil adaptability. Nidia decided to try this new technology after seeing the demonstration plot at the university.

b2ap3_thumbnail_One-of-Nidias-sons-and-an-employee-describing-the-benefits-of-the-new-technology-on-their-plantains.gifThese new technological alternatives have increased yields and plant quality. Nidia said the in-vitro plant resolved her problems. "It was a huge progress for me. The plants aren't sick and now I don't use pesticides."

The new plant is resistant to pests and disease, making for a more productive plant anchor with a more competitive context in an increasingly demanding market. As well, Nidia doesn't spend money on pesticides and is able to save this money to spend on household needs.

With the help of her sons, she has been able to produce healthy plantains. With the outcomes she's seen of the in-vitro plants she is now a promoter of reference for the university.

She uses her farm as a model for planting in-vitro plants that other farmers can come see as an example. She's excited to see the profits that the plantains will now bring in and she's happy for the help that the technicians gave her from EIAG.


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