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Helping Farming Communities To Thrive - Concluded

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FUSADES, El Salvador


(Programme concluded - the Foundation no longer supports this programme)

Operating out of El Salvador, where Puma Energy has a large fuel network and retail presence, the Salvadoran Foundation for Economic and Social Development (FUSADES) is a private, non-profit organisation and think tank dedicated to social and economic change. Since 1998, a flagship programme, ‘FORTAS’ has driven public-private partnerships to improve the lives of poor communities in the country. A new project supported by Puma Energy Foundation will increase revenues of extremely poor farmers by improving productivity, diversification and market opportunities.

In the violent municipality of Concepción Batres, plagued by gangs, it’s not just the lack of rainfall that farmers are struggling against to produce their crops. Against the odds, however, this project by FUSADES is reaping rewards. The objectives are to generate more competitive products for better yields, link producers with the market, promote entrepreneurship and sustainability and offer a monitoring and evaluation strategy to measure progress.

Recently, 160 farmers joined various training sessions to learn new techniques on crop production, production costs, agricultural business management and pest control. 38 farmers diversified into horticultural crops – vegetables such as radish and cucumber – that offer good profit margins and shorter payback than the traditional choice of grains. A farmers’ collective association now produces food in a staggered form, allowing for high yields and constant production. Fair prices have resulted in profitability. Farmers’ incomes have risen and tools have been put in place to ensure that even though the initiative will eventually end, its lessons will endure. The initial income average for farmers (baseline) was USD 130, and it has reached now USD 335.