Honduras: Part 2

Honduras: Women Taking the Lead in Community Development

Part 2 of 2, August 2017

 In last month’s Women’s Empowerment Initiative story, we introduced Seed Programs International partner, FIPAH (Foundation for Participatory Research with Honduran Farmers), who is working with local farmer groups in field schools and community-led farmer research teams (CIALs) over five regions in Honduras.

 The CIALs have 53 participants, a majority of which are women — 37 women and 16 men from 21 communities. To highlight their work, we shared how Dona Bertulia, a farmer from the region of Jesus de Otoro, learned how to save seed [link to July 2017 post, Part 1 of 2] and immediately adopted the idea as a way to ensure her community has access to quality seed for generations to come. This month, we’re sharing Ana Josefina’s story.


Ana Josefina

 Ana, a single parent with a 12-year old son, lives with her two unmarried sisters and their parents. Ana has been a member of a FIPAH local farmer research team (CIAL) since the early 2000s, first in a neighboring community, and now in her own, Union Praga.

 Ana was one of 14 women selected in the region of Jesus de Otoro to participate in training in vegetable seed selection and production in 2015, and one of 9 selected for a second year in 2016-2017. She recently participated in second-year training that focused on vegetable seed production specific to each of the five regions where FIPAH coordinates field schools. Ana’s region, Jesus de Otoro, focuses on white radish, coriander, and sorghum. Their goal is to save enough seed at her field school to supply her own region and also to eventually exchange for seed from each of the four other regional schools that each specialize in different types of seed.

 Ana and her sister, Doris, have always enjoyed saving seed. At her parent’s home, they both have their own separate ‘huertos’ or vegetable gardens. Fenced-off to keep out the chickens and other animals, the gardens are watered with a simple hose pipe and produce seed in soil enriched with coffee bean residue taken from their family’s coffee plot.


Here, you can see Ana and her sister, Doris, displaying the white radish (nabo), coriander (culantro), and sorghum (sorgo) seed that they have produced through seed saving in their gardens. They have already shared this seed with other members of their team so it could be planted before the annual rains arrive in May and June.


Ana with flowering white radish (nabo) plant


Ana is also saving seed from the earlier training session, which focused on several different vegetables, including eggplant, shown above.

 Like Dona Bertulia, Ana is learning more refined techniques that will build her community’s resilience against environmental changes that can threaten vegetable crops. By participating in FIPAH’s field schools and producing quality seed for her community, she’s laying a foundation for self-sustainability that will support her community for generations to come.

 Thank you for your support of Sweet Blossom Gift’s Women’s Empowerment Initiative and our partnership with Seed Programs International!