Harvesting beyond subsistence

frijolinica farmers in field

Harvesting beyond subsistence

Our commitment

to empower smallholders

FRIJOLNICA™ trains smallholders in Nicaragua on how to improve yields through better farm practices

About 70% of the kidney beans consumed in Central America are produced in Nicaragua, mostly by smallholders on around a hectare of land. When these growers lack access to technology and know-how, yields are low, and they struggle to harvest enough beans beyond subsistence.

Together with agricultural input company RAMAC, we founded FRIJOLNICA™ in 2007 to train smallholders on how to improve yields through better farm practices, such as the use of crop protection products and better soil management.

Additional support from Esperanza Coop and the Inter-American Development Bank has since expanded the scope of the program to help growers gain access to credit services, which are critical to fueling their businesses. The program has grown from 300 farmers trained in 2007 to 12,000 farmers in 2014.

How do we know we make a difference?

To better understand our impact on small scale growers in the program, we worked with an independent organization on a social impact assessment. CIMS (Sustainable Markets Intelligence Center) conducted a study comparing these growers with growers not enrolled in the program.

Growers were asked questions about their social and economic wellbeing. The study found that not only did FRIJOLNICA™ participants get twice the bean yield compared to the national average, but they were more optimistic about their future and keen to share their insights with their neighbors. As a result, even non-participants were able to achieve similar yields due to the community ‘spillover’ effect.

Read the complete report for more findings

Review the grower questionnaire used by CIMS

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