Our Approach

The majority of Nicaragua’s poor live in rural areas and work as subsistence farmers. This reality compelled us to enter into agriculture. In the mid 2000s, ANF formed a partnership with TaiwanICDF (International Cooperation and Development Fund) to carry out several agriculture ­based poverty reduction projects in the department of León.

Having worked with and learned from agriculture experts from TaiwanICDF and other development organizations, agriculture has become a priority area for ANF. Today, we have dedicated agriculture experts who have developed proven methods to help impoverished farmers achieve food security and sustained economic growth.

ANF offers training and technical assistance to smallholder farmers in some of the poorest areas in the country. Most of our initiatives are supported by partnerships with local organizations and government entities to ensure greater outreach and sustainability. The technical team accompanies smallholder farmers in the learning and adoption of new technologies to increase production and income.

Our agricultural projects also aim to ensure environmental sustainability. We believe that agricultural productivity improvements are necessary in order to reduce the need to expand the agricultural frontier. Productivity is notoriously low among poor smallholder farmers in Nicaragua, who often illegally clear forested lands to produce more food for their families.

The Problem

Agriculture is imperative to Nicaragua’s economy, especially in regard to its rural development. It is the main source of employment in rural Nicaragua, and accounts for more than two-­thirds of the overall income among the poor (World Bank 2008).

  • Only 17% of farmers use certified, high-­yielding seeds (FAO 2012).
  • According to the latest INIDE national survey (2009), 63% of the rural population lives below the poverty
  • Households engaged in agriculture are the country’s most vulnerable. This group suffer from a poverty rate of 70%, and 93% of households only have a primary education or less. (World Bank 2008)

Agricultural Training Center

At ANF’s Agricultural Training Center in Tipitapa, Nicaragua, smallholder farmers receive intensive training workshops on how to cultivate high­yielding varieties of highly demanded crops such as papaya, guava, and cherry tomato. Training sessions are led by ANF agriculture specialists with the aim of transferring low­cost technology that is adapted to the farm conditions of rural communities in Nicaragua. Once the farmers are trained, they are provided with seedlings and other agricultural inputs and receive onsite technical assistance.

Small­-Scale Animal Husbandry

ANF provides poor families in rural areas with a ‘livestock starter set’ – all they need to sustainably breed and care for farm animals: two female/male pairs (chicken, sheep, etc.), training, ongoing technical assistance, veterinary services, and key inputs such as vaccines and fencing materials. These livestock projects form part of ANF’s sustainable livelihoods strategy, allowing farmers additional income from sales and increased food security.

Planting Seeds to Cultivate Change

ANF is committed to supporting and strengthening smallholder farmers who produce red beans, Nicaragua’s chief staple food. Sponsored by Food for the Poor and the Greater Impact Foundation, this project aims to train farmers to use and produce certified bean seeds that guarantee higher yields and better quality. ANF staff equip these farmers with best agricultural practices and key agricultural inputs (eco­friendly fertilizers, pesticides, etc.). These inputs are provided through an asset­based credit facility where farmers receive the inputs in return for a portion of their harvest.

[For additional information, click here to see a video of the project.]

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