Agriculture

And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and, looking up to heaven, He blessed them and broke them, and gave them to the disciples again and again, to serve the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full.
[Luke 9:16-17]

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Approximately 40% of the population of El Salvador lives in rural areas, and 80% of these rural dwellers are subsistence farmers. Coffee and sugar are the major export crops of El Salvador, but the small farmers of the cantons grow primarily corn and beans to feed their own families.

Berlín-area farmers say the yearly rains used to arrive every year the first week of May and it would rain consistently until October. In recent years, due to global climate change, it is impossible to predict when the rains will come and when they will stop. “Every year,” the farmers tell us, “growing food gets a little harder.”

Because the soils have been abused and overworked for centuries, they will not yield a good crop without the help of chemical fertilizer. Without it, families face poor nutrition or even starvation. Fertilizer, at its cheapest, costs $60-$80 a bag making these essential fertilizers impossible for many families to afford.

When OSP partner churches help families purchase a bag of fertilizer, it increases their harvest yield dramatically. This is particularly important in years when the corn harvest is poor and fertilizer can mean the difference between harvesting little to nothing and having just enough to eat. Even in good harvest years, their generosity might mean the difference between having little to eat and having a little extra corn to sell, making it possible for farmers to buy other things their families need and to provide their children with an education.

Our Sister Parish also offers Berlín-area farmers with training opportunities in various farming subjects such as organic farming and best agricultural practices. We have sponsored seed exchanges increasing crop diversity, and connecting local farmers with other farmers across the country.