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Crisis Response: Income Generation

In April of 2018, protests broke out in Nicaragua that resulted in over 3 months of unrest, widespread destruction of public property, and more than 300 deaths. Thanks to your generosity, we were able to respond to the crisis and provide families with support in the areas of food security, medical attention, water distribution, and income generation.

Fabio López with one of the first batches of “Sol Frijol” (Rayo de Sol Beans)

One of our greatest concerns during the crisis was the loss of income for many people. In Matagalpa, many small businesses were forced to close and others had to reduce staff to stay afloat. Many of the people that we work with were affected by the economic downturn. Also, the small farmers that we work with had beans planted, but the local markets have been unpredictable. Pricing and transportation became more complex and many farmers were in jeopardy of losing money on their crops.

We decided to work with small farmers to ensure that they earned a fair price for their red bean crops. We set up a small business, purchasing beans from small farmers at a fair price (20% above other buyers), packaging the beans and selling them in local markets. In the process, we also generated some temporary employment for two women who helped to weigh, package and label the beans.

One of the farmers who was most anxious to work with us on this pilot project was Fabio López. Fabio has been one of the most enthusiastic biointensive farmers in his community and he had a small plot of red beans planted as well. Like most small farmers, he desperately needed cash to cover his family’s expenses, but was concerned that the buyers who were flocking to the community were paying an extremely low price for beans. We offered him the opportunity to work with us and he happily sold us 600 pounds of high quality red beans. We paid him 20% more than what he would have made, which allowed him to better provide for his family. We hope that this pilot project can grow into a more substantial micro-business in the future.