By Gail Batutis
In Chinandega, Nicaragua, the harvest has come in. As a recipient of a grant from the Social Enterprise Institute, the Chinantlan Agricultural Cooperative and its 40 small farmers can celebrate the rewards of their hard work – bushels of Jamaica rose and papaya, which will be sold to both local consumers and nationally, through contacts in Managua.
The Chinantlan Agricultural Cooperative was identified as a high impact entity the was recipient of a $10,000 grant provided by the Barker-Johst Foundation in 2012.
Unfortunately, due to a high rainfall in the winter season, a fungus caused by too much humidity affected a portion of the farmer’s plants – about 1/20th of Jamaica rose, and twice that of the papaya.
Overall, however, the farmers were able to keep it at bay. The seasonal harvest was a boon for local workers – 800 people were hired to pick and dehydrate the Jamaica rose, and another 60 more helped with the papaya. As this season finishes up, the farmers are now looking forward to the next planting season, due to start in February.