Eating Away at Biodiversity

The illegal trade of birds, reptiles, and some mammals is a lucrative corner of the black market among El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. It has been about three years since consuming turtle eggs became officially against the law in El Salvador, and still it’s not too hard to find place that sell these so-called…

Mexican Drought Wreaking Havoc on Farmers

You know it’s dry when even the cacti are withering.  A drought has been plaguing the majority of Mexican states for two solid years; it has gone from bad to worse in such a way that it’s now officially the worst drought in recorded history. The Mexican state of Coahuila, which borders Texas, has been…

El Salvador’s Family Agriculture Plan

The Family Agriculture Plan (PAF) is a new act that was implemented in 2011 by the Ministry of Agriculture that aims to reduce rural poverty and increase agricultural production in order to revitalize the economy in the countryside. With four main components to the plan, the government hopes to improve the livelihoods of about 2…

Aquaponics: the simple beauty of sustainable food production.

Aquaponics. When I first started working with an aquaponics system in 2006, most people would look at me cross-eyed when I told them what I was doing. And while I still get that look at times, aquaponics is moving from the obscure shadows to bask in the limelight…well, the limelight of foodies and sustainable farmers….

Modern Slaughterhouse Construction Halted

Two modern slaughterhouses are in the works in the zona oriental of El Salvador – in San Miguel and Pasaquina. The idea is that these two slaughterhouses would serve the entire eastern zone of the country, thereby abolishing all of the small slaughterhouses scattered throughout the countryside. As I outlined in a previous blog post…

Growing food among bus exhaust and asphalt

In a neighborhood on the east side of San Salvador, one man, a retired agricultural engineer, is growing food on the median strips between the paved roads that crisscross his city. Mr. Argueta cultivates onions, carrots, zucchini, peppers, and other vegetables on parcels of otherwise idle land around the his neighborhood. On the largest median…

Salvadoran ranchers need their annual livestock fair

This year, the annual livestock fair in San Miguel will not be happening for the first time in 30 years. During those years, ranchers have come to rely on this annual fair to make or finalize transactions, and agricultural businesses have come to market their latest equipment and products. So if the ranchers are missing…

GMOs coming soon to a farm near you?

Staring in the face of nearly $300 million dollars in losses in the agricultural sector due to the rains of October, the Salvadoran government is considering trials of genetically modified crops. Some people believe this to be the magic bullet for the struggling agriculture industry in the country. Corn, beans, rice, sugarcane, and coffee are…

Price Supports Lead to a Black Market in El Salvador

A black market for food. When one hears the words “black market,” the first images that come to mind are most likely not food, but other things such as drugs, prostitution, cigarettes, and perhaps TV or movie piracy (or if you really have a good imagination/listen to too many urban legend stories, human organs). And…

School Food Program Falling Short in El Salvador

Wait…there’s a school food program in El Salvador?? Well, yes and no. Recently (within the past few years, although I could not obtain the exact date of initiation), the government of El Salvador, through the Ministry of Education, launched a school snack program. It is called a “snack” program as opposed to breakfast or lunch…

A Plea for Young Farmers

In this week’s El Diario de Hoy, a short article cited a lack of young experience as one of the major pitfalls in revitalizing agriculture in El Salvador. A renewed interest in farming by youth would help to improve food security, ecological degradation, as well as human capital. The article urges young people to head…

El Salvador Reaps Record Coffee Earnings

El Salvador has seen record earnings in coffee this past year; the combination of increased cultivation and soaring world prices has led to many coffee producers bringing in more money than they’ve seen in a decade. According to the Salvadoran Coffee Council, the past year’s export earnings were over $435 million – an increase of…