Guatemala aims to reduce migration to the United States by providing farmer education and family farm aid.
In recent years, the number of migrants arriving in the United States from the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador has surged. According to the Congressional Research Service, Customs and Border Patrol personnel have already intercepted more of them in 2021 than they did in all of 2020.
However, many migrants do not wish to leave their homeland. They are forced to go because they have no other option—it is “leave or die.” However, a handful of groups are working hard to ensure that they can stay and survive. “Farmer field schools” is one of their main techniques.
World Neighbors, an international nonprofit with offices in 13 countries and a history of assisting rural farmers in 45 nations, is one of the organizations implementing this technique in Guatemala.
Farmer field schools, according to World Neighbors CEO Kate Schecter, help rural families invest in their communities and offer them reasons (and the ability) to stay.
People don’t want to leave because there are more reasons to stay than to leave, according to Schecter of Washington Newsday. “What we discovered is that investing in your neighborhood, as well as your own businesses, is critical to keeping people there. They don’t believe that traveling with nothing on the other end can help them.”
Neighbors supporting neighbors is emphasized in the farmer field schools that World Neighbors promotes. Local farmers who are able and ready to train other farmers in their areas how to cultivate new crops, care for tiny broods of poultry, and establish their own kitchen gardens are identified by the group, which Schecter claims has a “really good retention rate.”
The technique demonstrates to Guatemalan farming communities, many of whom rely solely on coffee bean production, how diversifying their crops and installing irrigation systems to maximize rainfall might boost their prospects of agricultural success during particularly dry or rainy seasons, according to Schecter.
Farmer field schools, according to Schecter, are essentially demonstration farms. “They’re sites where experienced farmers who’ve learned a lot of new techniques teach other farmers how to increase yields, retain water for irrigation, and so on.” This is a condensed version of the information.