1.7 million Nicaraguans live below the poverty line, living on less than $4.00 per day. 70% of them live in rural areas of the country. Landless farmers are some of the most vulnerable people to extreme poverty and food insecurity. Low agricultural production is one contributing factor. Production on a per acre basis is roughly 1/2 of neighboring countries like Honduras and Guatemala and roughly 1/6 of the production in Costa Rica.1 Farmer to Farmer seeks to address two primary economic needs: lack of access to land and lack of agribusiness infrastructure.
Rural Development Programs
Land Ownership for Landless Farmers Program
Many farmers in rural Nicaragua do not own their own land. Many rent or work for large landowners. This is often a poor deal for the landless farmers and more like sharecropping for African Americans after the Civil War. It is a system that they can rarely get out of.
Farmer to Farmer seeks to provide access to the opportunity of land ownership by providing low-interest loans to purchase land through the Land Ownership for Landless Farmer Program. Participants of this program have 10 years to repay the loan and also receive training on biblical worldview, stewardship, agronomy, animal husbandry, and business management. Upon completion of the program farm families are food secure and have a much greater income and financial security than when they were landless.
Rural Value Chain Development Program
Over the years we have realized that providing access to land is not enough. Many of these farmers, as well as small farmers that own land, do not have access to credit markets, markets for inputs, or markets to sell products at a fair price. Therefore they have difficulty being profitable and productive and this makes repayment of a land loan difficult.
Farmer to Farmer seeks to increase access and inclusion in markets for poor and marginalized farmers by investing in NGOs or companies that will use funds to develop the agricultural value chain in their region. Their work should utilize for-profit strategies that provide farmers with some or all of the following: business and agricultural training, access to capital, access to inputs, and access to local and international markets for sale of farm products.
1 World Bank Confirms: A Third of Nicaraguans Live in Poverty, Confidencial, June 2017, Available at https://confidencial.com.ni/world-bank-confirms-third-of-nicaraguans-live-in-poverty/