"Green" alternative income sources puts village on path to economic sustainability
Matthew Pattinson, Project Lead, Compassionate Eye Foundation
Like many small villages in Guatemala, the people of Tuixoquel have limited options when it comes to earning a living. To help improve economic sustainability, in 2008, Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) aligned in with "As Green As It Gets", an organization based out of Antigua, Guatemala, that provides agricultural income producing alternatives to local villagers. The non-profit works alongside members of the community and builds their capacity through teaching new skills, improved agricultural techniques and providing ongoing support.
A strong emphasis is placed on protecting the environment and land restoration as an integral part of business management. The objective is to lift the producers out of subsistence agriculture by helping them attain skills that can improve their product quality and yields.
Beginning in August 2010, a new project was funded to create an agro-forestry program for pine and cypress timber and promote a supply of cold climate fruits such as avocados and apples. Not only will this program help to provide food security in Comitancillo but also marketable produce in avocados, walnuts and assorted fruits.
Further components of this program are capacity building and knowledge transfer. Instruction will be provided on how to prune fruit trees to maximize yields in the case of fruits, and how to maintain trees to maximize value in the case of timber. The producers will also be supported in areas of seed germination, seedling propagation, basic greenhouse care, transplanting, and cultivation.
To learn more about projects Compassionate Eye Foundation supports, visit www.compassionateeye.org
Matthew Pattinson, Project Lead Compassionate Eye Foundation