For decades, agriculture has been associated with the production of essential food crops. Today, processing, marketing and distribution of crops and livestock are all acknowledged as part of agriculture or farming as we may call it. Farming plays a critical role in the entire life of economies around the world. Agriculture is the backbone of the economic system in most developing countries. In addition to providing food and raw materials, farming provides employment to a large percentage of the population of countries stricken with poverty and malnutrition.
In countries which are prone to destructive disasters such as flooding or drought, a farming family can start to get ahead, until some sort of natural disaster often sets them back again. When Food for the Hungry (FH) comes into such an area their facilitators begin immediately to invest in the lives of the people. FH staff go deep into the community and become monitors and supervisors to those who desire to cultivate their crops and land as well as maintain healthy soil and efficient farming rotations.
Most people in developing countries rely on their own farming to provide all the produce the family eats. When crop yields are high enough, agriculture also contributes to a family’s income. FH helps farmers learn improved farming techniques that use less water and improve yields.
The impoverished communities are taught how to use drought resistant seeds, build and use better crop storage facilities, combine farming efforts as a community, plant cash crops, and learn to process crops to sell in various local and national markets at optimum prices. Learning important agricultural practices helps improve an entire community’s food security.
Sometimes the land has been depleted over time, rendering it useless for growing food. FH then works with communities to model farming methods that protect the environment so it can provide an ongoing source of food for generations to come. Farmers can use the earth which was given to them from the beginning of time to feed their family, earn an income, help others who are in need, and produce products which can be sold at markets in other communities to improve their abilities to become healthier and independent.
The life of a farmer in Bolivia
Eliodoro and his wife Basilia are farmers in Bolivia.
Eliodoro and his wife Basilia are farmers in Bolivia of potatoes, and also cattle traders. They work very hard to keep up their potato crop, but it can be difficult because they have so few resources to help them. When they make a journey to trade their cattle, they travel by foot for an average of 100 miles, sleeping outside in below freezing weather at night. All this work resulted in less than $200 a month, which is used to support their four children.
Eliodoro became very familiar with Food for the Hungry and its work in his community. He and his wife have begun to use the resources provided by FH. His income grew. Now as a respected leader among his community, Eliodoro sets a positive example for others by helping the mission and the work of FH. He spends time volunteering and receiving training about FH’s programs, and has led initiatives to improve the local school.
On top of his exceptional donations of time, Eliodoro has recently decided to donate some of his hard-earned money to FH. The money for FH can be used to continue to teach others in the world about serving in their community as leader farmers.
For Eliodoro – a farmer – it’s not just a job title anymore! It’s a way to provide for his entire family. And that same story has been repeated for many other farmers that FH helps, like la Pha Yu in Cambodia, Nahimana Marie Gusile in Burundi, and Rashida Begum in Bangladesh.
If you would like to join Eliodoro and FH in this work, you can give here. This is the kind of differences FH and their partners are making together…ending poverty and inspiring hope.