Small Changes for a Better Future - Part 3

Posted by James Astuhuaman on 10 March 2016

DON CLEMENTE ENTERS HIS PARCELA IN A LOCAL COFFEE COMPETITION

Don Clemente and his wife, Doña Simona, are smallholder organic coffee farmers in San Juan del Oro coffee cooperative, in southeastern Peru.

‘I’m 67 years old now and I live here on the farm with only my wife, Simona Mamani Guanaco.  I have 7 kids but none of them wanted to keep working with coffee, they gave up and went to work elsewhere. I’ve kept working to improve my skills as a farmer and little by little I have learned more about coffee production. Last month the local government organized a farm competition. I saw my plot and I thought, ‘why I don't participate?’ Then I asked a specialist if I would be allowed to participate and they told me that I meet the criteria to take part in the competition. So then I started working to get my farm ready over two weeks, making signs, drawing and working hard until I was visited by the competition committee.’

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Don Clemente takes out some documents and a very large, elaborate map of the farm that he drew, which he extends on the floor. He starts pointing out each part of his farm and showing all the work that he did in the last few weeks. He also wears the medal he was awarded for the competition. Clemente won first place for the best farm in his district!

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‘This is the medal that I received and this is the work that I have done for the competition. That's how I achieved my goal. Even if I didn't expect to earn this, I believe that I can be better. I also received a weed brush cutter as a prize for my work. This will be a great help for my work every day. Now I feel proud and inspired to achieve more goals in my life and improve my farm with the projects and improve the quality of life of my family.

Twin's project helped me a lot to plant more trees, to improve the use of water and improve the waste management of the farm with more expertise. I learned with the project how to fertilize the coffee adequately and other best practices to produce coffee. So now I am recovering the potential of the land after hard years due to the coffee leaf rust crisis. I wish to have more help to keep improving the way we produce coffee: such as not causing any contamination to the land through good environmental management.’

We congratulate Clemente and his wife for their achievements and give them some advice to make even more improvements. We finish the tour of the farm and the interview but before we leave, Don Clemente has one last point to make,

‘The success of the projects depends on us. If we don't work, any project won’t work. If we feel inspired to work and give our labor I'm sure every organization will want to help us. I feel inspired by Twin and I'm going to keep working for my cooperative and for a better quality of life in my community.’

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This is the last of three blog posts  written by Twin associate, James Astuhhuaman, during a recent visit to Don Clemente’s parcela tolearn more about the benefits of participating in Twin project, ‘Conservation and Rational Use of Water’, in partnership with Matthew Algie and M&S