Julio first learned to farm from his father. With support from PWS&D, he has gained knowledge and skills that allow him to do it even better.

Farming is in Julio César Miranda’s blood. After his father died, thirteen-year-old Julio joined his mother to plant and harvest his family’s plot in Comitancillo, Guatemala. When he started his own family five years later, Julio continued to grow maize and wheat with the same techniques his parents had used. “We didn’t know if we were doing it well or poorly, we just followed the customs that we learned at home, just like all the other families.”

One day, Julio joined an agricultural training group led by PWS&D partner AMMID. He attended workshops on how to better provide for his family through more sustainable gardening and livestock care. Now, Julio knows how to treat and prune his fruit trees to make them flourish. “I’ve changed the way I think ‘the plants produce by God’s will,’” he comments, “God surely helps, if, and when we work.”

The Comitancillo region is one of the poorest in Guatemala, with 77 per cent of children under five experiencing chronic malnutrition. While the diet for those living in Comitancillo is primarily composed of maize and beans, families struggle to produce enough of these during the growing season to last the year. Often, this is because of lack of knowledge regarding soil management and seed selection techniques, coupled with a lack of fertile lands and diverse crops.

AMMID’s agroecology program provides agriculture and livelihood support to families in Comitancillo and seven additional communities in the San Marcos region of Guatemala. Farmers who have experienced low yields are equipped to grow more maize, beans and other hearty crops, providing hope for a more secure future.

Families are learning how to prepare the new, diverse crops they are growing.

AMMID’s workshops also help people develop skills to safely turn the items from their gardens into more nutritious food. For Marta Gilda Tomás Crisóstomo this means her son can become healthier.

“I didn’t pay much attention to hygiene and nutrition because I thought that didn’t have anything to do with the growth and development of my son. Through the workshop, thanks to the support of the AMMID health and nutrition promoter, I have come to understand that it is very important to clean my kitchen, wash my dishes, and of course to practice good hand washing. I have also become aware of the importance of a healthy and nutritious diet. I am very grateful to the AMMID association because they have taught us to produce our own food—not just leave it in field, but bring it into my kitchen.”

Help make life healthier and more prosperous for farmers and their families around the globe. Your support of PWS&D’s food security work makes a lasting difference in the lives of many!