Recently, our team was able to speak with Jorge Luis López, an agroforestry promoter from Guatemala and learn about his experience working with Ecologic.
My name is Jorge Luis López and I live in San Juan Ixcán, and I would like to tell you my story.
A few years ago, I made the decision to immigrate to the United States. I was there for a few years, but it was difficult for me as I had to leave my wife and children. To me, this was extremely difficult and exhausting. Unfortunately, I had to return for a few reasons, but thanks to having saved some money, I was able to buy myself a plot of land and build a home. I have been working with EcoLogic for over five years now, working to implement agroforestry farming techniques in over four acres of land.
EcoLogic Field Technician, Elmer, arrived in my town ready to explain the activities that the organization had planned alongside the community members. I was so interested that I decided to join the group. At first, I was given the position of agroforestry promoter. Afterwards, I attended various training sessions and organized a small group with my colleagues to replicate what I was taught. Then, I offered a small space of my land to build a tree nursery where we were able to plant guama plants (Inga edulis) and began the process of agroforestry systems.
I now have more than four hectares of guama and I can truly say it was a great addition to my other crops (corn, cardamom, coffee, and bananas) because it provides substantial organic fertilizer and shade. I really like this and I can certainly say it assists significantly with the weeding of my crops which in turn reduces my manual labor, giving me more time to go about other activities on my land and home.
I have two sons, Martin and Tomas, and I have instilled in them the importance of farming guama in the plot. I have even given them a piece of land so they can begin their own projects as well. Additionally, I have tried to advise them not to go to the United States and keep reminding them that with hard work it is possible to obtain good results here, as long as you set goals and work hard to achieve them.
Last year and this year have been wonderful with my new system. I have produced more cardamom, coffee, and corn than before. This has helped to grow my income and I was even able to build my wife a new kitchen, buy a new cardamom dryer, and sell it in parchment instead of the raw fruit like other local producers do.