Our export channels are developing nicely with the first shipment of our Nicoya Coffee and now we are turning more attention toward the development of our small farms projects. Yesterday, Sunday June 26, I visited our friend and advisor Santos Lopez and had the privilege of worshipping with his church, Iglesia Jehova Jireh. After the service I visited our plantain farm with one of the workers, Luis Moreno.
The farm is a huge success as one of two prototype projects. This farm was begun in August 2006. It has seen two crop failures, one from fungus and one from high winds. It has fully recovered from both from its own profits. This project began producing again in May and is about a month away from full production from 2500 plants on just over 2 ½ acres. This kind of recovery is built into our model but this performance actually exceeds our expectations.
The farm provides income to Santos’ growing church and helps them advance their work in city of Leon and of his ministry as he works with Pastors throughout the country. In addition it has supported a number of workers over its nearly five years of operation.
Luis, for example, lives with his mother and young sister. He is their primary means of support and they are sustained by his salary. I’ve included a photo of Luis with his crop. He is so pleased with the fruit of his labors. He would represent a “hired hand” on one of the family farms we will establish in the near future. There are three such hired hands on this one farm plus a boy who is about half time. It dawned on me yesterday that our two prototypes are the perfect place to prove our first program participants. When I return to Leon in about a month, I will talk to Santos about finding some land and helping me oversee the placement of 3-4 families on small farms of about 7 acres each.
We need to start raising funds for that purpose so please start praying for us in that regard and considering whether you might participate in the sponsorship of a farm. It will cost approximately $4,000 per farm and is designed to repay over a seven year period. As the funds are repaid out of the profitability of the farm, they will be used to start new farms in various locations around the country.
In addition to our two prototype farms in Leon and La Conquista, we are in discussion with another ministry for the possible use of up to about 200 acres near Tipitapa (east of Managua). We have great advisors in each location who are more than capable of overseeing the development of these three locations.