Coffee Leaf Rust Plagues El Salvador

  Coffee leaf rust (Hemileia vastatrix) is a fungus that is widely feared among coffee growers. Its full life cycle is not completely understood, but direct contact must be made by the fungus, or the fungi spores, with the leaf to infect it. Scientists also know that the presence of free water is required, and…

Cattle Rustlers Rounded Up in San Miguel

Theft of cattle near San Miguel had been on the rise since the beginning of the year. By June, the number of cattle thefts was double the number of the previous year. Ranchers were becoming frustrated and disillusioned with the local police, whom they felt were not trying to solve the cases, and thus the…

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…

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…

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…

G-20 Recommends Increasing Investments in Agriculture

The G20 is a group comprised of the top twenty largest economies in the world; together they account for 85% of the world’s production of goods and services; over 80% of the GDP and about 80% of the world trade, while accounting for about 65% of the world’s population. The members themselves are finance ministers…

Food Prices Will Rise, says UN FAO

The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization has recently issued a statement that the predicted rise in food prices needs to be on the forefront of every country’s agenda, especially those leaders of developing nations. Although food prices are predicted to rise through 2012, the prices will also be volatile, which means it will be…

Corn Harvest: Lost & Postponed

In El Salvador, corn seeds are sown in early May – in the winter, or so it’s called here. This winter began in the normal way: suddenly the rain began. April warmed up, making us uncomfortably sticky during the day and sigh with relief when we enter a bank or supermarket or other similarly over-air conditioned…

Farming Cooperatives

The United Nations has declared that next year, 2012, will be the International Year of Cooperatives; since 1992, the first Saturday in July has been the International Day of Cooperatives. Worldwide, cooperatives directly employ over 100 million people, according to the UN. A cooperative is a business owned by a group of individuals, and the…

A Culture of Corn (una cultura de maiz)

White corn dominates the markets here in El Salvador, and it is used primarily for tortillas, but also it is eaten corn-on-the-cob style, and even made into a drink, atol de elote. From 1960 to today, total corn production in El Salvador has risen from 200,000 metric tons annually to close to one million MT/year….