Thursday, December 14, 2017
Introduction

Introduction - Students at the "Colegio" (Vocational Institute) & the "Aldeas" (Farm Communities)

     Our program has greatly expanded from the mostly hands-on student learning of basic garden methods, just in the plot at the colegio, to our work with practicing farmers in the small, isolated communities at distance from the fairly city-like town of Nueva Palestina, the location of the parish church and facilities.


      And our hope, based still on the FAO-PESA orientation, is to emphasize community leadership, not just on corn production or garden crops, but to include new ideas, including family financial savings and management, additional sources of family income, safe and appropriate use of agricultural chemicals, etc.


      Since in many if not all of these same communities we are supporting students, and family health, and maybe improvements for health (floors, roofs, latrines) when feasible I hope there will be overlap across other of our supported programs there.

Learn the Location of our Projects

Learn the Location of our projects

*  Country: Honduras is located in Central America.
*  State: Olancho
*  Municipality: Patuca
*  Sister parish: "Nuestra Señora de Suyapa", in the town of Nueva Palestina
*  The "Colegio" - Vocational School: "Nueva Cholulteca Middle and High School" - in "Nueva Choluteca"
*  The "Aldeas" - Farm Communities: La Concepción, La Botella, Buenos Aires, El Sinaí, Guinea Abajo, Los Almendros


Summary of all the Agriculture Programs

Projects:
 * Infrastructure
(Water Harvesting)

 Vegetable Garden
 Corn Field
 Chickens
 Pigs
 Soil Erosion Problem
Infrastructure - School
Collection of Roof Water   
   
   

Well 
 

Water Tank  
 
 

 Dripping System  
   
 Improvements

 

Intrastructure - Farmers

     Some of our participants in the FAO training requested the construction of a "water harvesting" systems (capture water from higher-elevation, nearby springs, and conduct it via PVC piping to the low cylindrical holding tanks).   

     In 2014 we provided the supplies for a tank in each of two communities.  Later the farmers did at least one (if not two) additional tanks in other communities.  They did this using the techniques they had learned.   And at least in one case they involved some of the "colegio" students in the work, thereby allowing them to learn, too.  

   

 

 

 





Vegetable Garden - School

     When "St Michaels Church" started to work on the "Promesa" project in 2011.  It was design to help the students of the vocational "Colegio Nueva Cholulteca Middle and High School".  


   

    The program goals was for the students to learn about many practical agricultural things so in the future they could implement what they learned at home and their communities. In 2012, it started the implementation of the "Gardening Program", where students of about 14 years old would learn how to take care of some crops, how to plant them, how to prepare the soil, how to harvest them, and how to plant them again minimizing erosion of the soil.

 The major crops were: 
 
*  Tomatoes, 
*  Chile, 
*  Cilantro, 
*  Corn, 
*  Sweet Potato, 
*  Pumpkin, 
*  Lettuce, 
*  Radish, 
*  and Banana
   

     The project started on a small area at the school itself. Now, the students are working with the University Nacional de Agricultura (UNA)  and now they have bigger fields to learn from and work on.

 

     St Michael´s church helps with the financing, Drs. Sabella, Davis, and Naderman help with the development of the "Promesa" project, and many others made this program blum.  

Community Garden - Farmers
     In mid 2014, ending before December, we supported the second UNA thesis project, that being the community gardening demonstrations in several of the aldea communities.    With interest and encouragement of some of the aldea farmers and families they decided to continue the work in the aldea community gardens.  

     We readily supported that with seeds, a small amount of fertilizers and some pest control materials.  We also provided one small transplant of several kinds of fruit trees for several of the aldea communities.

      To continue with this in 2016, we will be sending several aldea farmers for two on-campus days (three overnights) for training at the UNA (Agrarian University) -- one day on grafting of plants like avocado, mango, guava; and one day on techniques of producing garden crops.

 
   




Learn about:  

-  seeds,
-  fertilizers,
-  pest control,
-  transplant



 
 




  



  

Corn Field

     In mid-2013, we decided to begin the work following concepts and technology of FAO-PESA, and we developed the working agreement with the farmers.  That led to about two weeks of training with FAO in northern Honduras.

        Following that training session, among the many ideas they had seen, our participants chose to begin with corn production technology taught by FAO -- the use of specific fertilizers, the "no-burn" emphasis, planting without any tillage (which they mostly did anyway), use of certain corn plant spacing, and,,., using FAO recommended varieties.  

   
   
 

     It started in five "aldeas", but now we have two extra communities, and they are starting with the second crop.
Chickens
During mid 2014, we supported the "Broiler Chicken Thesis Project" from the "Universidad Nacional de Agricultura" to be done at the "Colegio".  The "Promesa Project", help financially the project itself, and the room & board of the university student.




    After the project was done, the "colegio" carried a somewhat larger broiler chicken project through growth, processing and marketing in the same facility at the "colegio".
Pigs

The students had experience with their families animals.  But, we are helping them to learn all aspects of raising hogs for sale production.  The project intends to urge use of these young pigs for breeding with locally-owned  pigs.  This could improve growth rate and health of local hogs.  Also the students learn how to give at-birth injection, probably of vitamins, and possibly disease immunization. 

    


  The "Promesa Project" bought a sow and boar hog, and are presently producing pigs at the "Colegio".  The pictures shows, the sow with her second "litter" of piglets -- 11.   We want to emphasize use of hogs (male and female), and several births of piglets, as opportunities to teach students aspects of biology, care, treatment and production of pigs, using superior genetics of both the sow and boar.   When weaned from nursing, and about 1/4 grown, pigs are being given or sold to community people, potentially to even the outlying aldeas.   



  


The intent is that these pigs might be entered into breeding for the new owners, to upgrade the genetic quality and efficiency for hog production.  Of course -- limiting factor will be economics of the feeding, including availability of any useful feed sources versus purchasing commercial feeds as is being done at the "Colegio".  We have now grown and sold (or given away in a few cases) 21 young pigs.  The "sow" is pregnant again, with gestation perid being about 3.5 months.  So, we expect new baby pigs in late March.

The Environment - Weather and Soil Erosion

There are two main seasons:

1) Summer: Dry and Hot

2) Winter: Very rainy with 6.5ft - 7.2ft of precipitation a year

The temperature oscillate from 28°C (82°F) to 32°C (90°F)


The topography is irregular and most of the farming are done in hills.


NOW, the "residue/waste" of the old crops are left on the field to protect the new crop.  

They used to burned it, thinking that it was better for the soil.

But, erosion was cause a lot of damage to the fields.  


This looks messy and bad.  
But, it is "gold" for the soil.  


So, we are helping / teaching about:
-  irrigation, 
-  agriculture methods to stop burning that contributes to soil erosion.



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