Farmers in one of Columbia’s most vulnerable community have undergone training to be able to yield results in crop production and livestock rearing.
The La Guajira province on Colombia’s border with Venezuela is dry with desert landscape and has serious feeding security issues particularly in the rural areas. The bad weather amid strong winds, high temperatures and droughts, makes it difficult to farm and produce food. The economic crises in neighboring Venezuena has also pushed over a million migrants across the border with about 165,000 people to La Guajira. The influx of migrants has put a strain on host communities where food is scarce with limited natural resources.
It is for the reason the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 2018 embarked on the Early Warning Early Action program to increase food production, making the farmers more resilient to the impacts of droughts. The communities also received laying hens as part of the project.
FAO’s Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) team together with the FAO Colombia country office rolled out a programme to support and train farmers in boosting food production. “We’re talking about drought resistant crops and seeds, veterinary services, feed and treatments for livestock, hens for egg production, and all the rehabilitation of wells to set up micro-irrigated community fields for the production of different types of crops,” EWEA Specialist for FAO, Niccolo Lombardi explained.
One of the beneficiary household farmer, Alina Arieta aged 50 , who took part in one of the FAO trainings learnt critical farming skills. She was full of excitement as she can now provide for her four kids living in the village of Montelara, in Colombia’s La Guajira, where they depend on agriculture and livestock for their livelihoods.
Another beneficiary, 61 year-old Fidelia Pana has always lived here and has experienced numerous severe droughts in her lifetime. Now, with tools and seeds from FAO, the community leader has managed to grow a flourishing cabbage field. Local livestock owners are also now able to provide basic veterinary care for their animals thanks to training provided by FAO.
“We didn’t know how to treat them [animals]. The FAO veterinary officer who came here taught us how to treat them and gave us animal feed. Our animals have put on weight. They are in great shape. They eat and drink sufficiently now,” Fidelia added.