Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Discovering Nicaragua

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Nicaragua to explore agriculture and life in Nicaragua. It was a quick trip with only two days in country, but a lot was accomplished and we look forward to returning with groups to learn more about agriculture in Nicaragua and some of the challenges they are facing. Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere with only Haiti coming in below them. Nicaragua is also the largest country, by land area, in Latin America, but is the least populated. It was also noted that Nicaragua is known as the safest country in Latin America. While Nicaragua is known as a poor country I was blown away by the beauty and lush landscape of this great country.

View from a coffee farm we visited in the providence of San Roman. 

I spent my first full day in country exploring the San Roman area which is a mountainous region. On our way to San Roman we passed many processing facilities for coffee and rice along with some tobacco farms. The major crops produced in the San Roman area are: corn, coffee, beans, cocoa, passion fruit, malanga, and vegetables. Beef cattle production is seen throughout the country. Climate change is a major challenge that Nicaraguan farmers are facing. I was able to visit with a foundation in the area that works with farmers to battle climate change and other challenges facing farmers. I, also, was fortunate enough to visit some local schools to see what is being done to improve young lives in Nicaragua. 

On our way to San Roman. I was impressed with much of the infrastructure in Nicaragua. 

We started our second full day in the San Roman area by visiting another organization working with farmers to introduce technology in solar power and irrigation. Soon after we made our way to the city of Leon. As we traveled from San Roman to Leon we left the mountainous areas to lower elevations of the flat lands. As we reached lower elevations we found a lot of rice, peanuts, sorghum, sugarcane, and chia being grown. Cattle production seemed to increase as well.  We enjoyed lunch in Leon before making our way to Los Alpes Ranch where we discussed agriculture and agricultural education in the region.

Active volcano Telica in the background of roaming cattle.

After our time at Los Alpes Ranch we returned to Leon where we met with a gentleman developing and engineering technology in renewable energy and food processing. Elmer shared his work in solar energy, wind energy, and stove technology. We then returned to Managua so I could catch a flight out the next morning. We look forward to returning to Nicaragua with a group to learn more about agriculture in Nicaragua. Thanks to our great hosts with Sister Communities of San Roman, Larry and Anjie. We look forward to our return. 

Elmer showing off his solar powered dehydrator for food preservation. 

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