MEDA Blog - Stories from the Field

The Love for Food, Science, and Word of Mouth

b2ap3_thumbnail_Nydia-Yescas-switched-to-the-plantain-vitro-plant.JPGb2ap3_thumbnail_different-stages-of-the-plantain-in-the-lab.JPGI love food! One of my favorite side dishes in Nicaragua is tostones, fried plantains. Lucky me because I got to eat all the tostones I wanted by doing a case study in Rivas.

I visited the International School of Livestock and Agriculture in Rivas (EIAG in Spanish) where MEDA has supported the lab at the university to combine different plantain seeds to create a vitro plant that won’t be affected by disease or insects. In past years, plantain production has been low due to the spread of an insect pest known as black weevil, which feeds on the leaves, and black sigatoka disease, which causes yield losses. I went into the lab and saw the whole process of the vitro plant.

I interviewed twenty male and female farmers to see their progress with the technology. Farmers said the planting of the plantain (vitro plant) was exactly the same as the normal plantain they used before. The only difference was that they didn’t have to use any or few pesticides, a happy side fact. They noted that they had more production and the leaves were bigger and healthier. One farmer had no experience in planting plantains and said it was quite easy with the help of EIAG technicians.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Farmers-notice-the-increase-of-plantains-and-improved-quality-of-product.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_First-time-ever-planting-plantains-and-using-the-vitro-plant.jpgOne of the most amazing indications found in the case study that I witnessed with talking to local farmers was their desire to help one another. EIAG has a methodology of the Waterfall Method to spread information about the vitro plant, in other words spreading information with the word of mouth. Many farmers, like Norbin Abel, said he likes the innovation and helping farmers with a new level of knowledge. Junior, one of the technicians that explains the vitro plants to farmers, said he was helping farmers to be more stable in their production. The overall objective of farmers, technicians and the university was to help one another in the community.

The goal of MEDA and EIAG is to have efficient production and incorporate small producers into the equation with the national and international market. Carl Sagan in Science as a Candle in the Dark (1997) stated, “Advances in medicine and agriculture have saved vastly more lives than have been lost in all the wars in history.”

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