Forging links for 5k farmers in Peru & Nicaragua

by MEDA - Mennonite Economic Development Associates
You've helped farmers like Nydia succeed!

Thank you for your donation to MEDA and your continuous support of our work on GlobalGiving! Because of your generosity, we continue to provide long-lasting solutions to poverty around the world, bringing new hope and dignity to millions of families annually.

Techno-Links (Technology Links for Improved Access and Incomes) has enabled 20 agriculture input suppliers in Peru and Nicaragua to better reach 5,000 small farmers so they can increase yields and gain new income opportunities. As a result, their families – more than 20,000 women, men and children – are benefitting. New technology means farming businesses are growing, creating more sustainable livelihoods for both suppliers and farmer families.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading updates of how we’ve invested in promising futures and unleashed entrepreneurship in rural farmers through Techno-Links. I love sharing stories illustrating how your support is making a difference in people’s lives.

From all of us at MEDA, thank you for your compassion and kindness! We’re grateful to you for opening your heart to those in need.

While we are now ending our presence on GlobalGiving, I hope that you will continue your support in the ongoing fight to alleviate poverty worldwide.

Please stay in touch!

Thank you once again for your generous donation to the Techno-Links project. We value your support as a partner in creating business solutions to poverty.


Linda Whitmore

You've helped suppliers like Tecnosol excel!
You've created better futures for their families!


Discussing different ideas as a group
Discussing different ideas as a group

At MEDA, we believe in using proven business solutions to overcome poverty. With your support, we are able to carry out this important work and also follow-up with our clients to ensure their success sustains beyond the project.

Thanks to your generous gift, rural farmers are forging links to gain better access to farming supplies and technology, enabling them to increase yields and income opportunities – the makings of sustainable future for their family.

Sarah French, a MEDA impact assessment intern in Nicaragua, met with Techno-Links clients and business partners at the end of her internship to learn how MEDA’s work is positively affecting their communities and what can be done to improve the project in the future. Read below to see how your donation is changing lives…

Sarah’s Update from the Field: Coming together for the first and last time

The Techno-Links Project has manifested a connection between private businesses and small rural farmers within a time span of just three years to encourage sustainable agricultural development.

I had previously met the private businesses and farmers individually when I conducted interviews with them on behalf of MEDA. However, the dynamics of the Techno-Links project meeting in March were astounding because all ten Nicaraguan private companies came together for the first time to share their ideas.

The goal of the two-day meeting was to express the positive effects and outcomes, as well as suggest improvements for the Techno-Links project. I presented my findings from a Case Study I conducted in November on one of our partners, The International School of Agriculture and Livestock, and discussed outcomes of farmers from the agricultural business partners. This helped to launch the dialogue for the day on the strengths of the project and also what needs to be improved.

Afterwards, an activity to explore these impacts further proved extremely useful. A large brown sheet of paper was taped to the front wall with the headings: Design, Efficiency, Effectiveness, Impact, and Sustainability. Crosscutting these were subtitles that read: Successes, Potential, Setbacks, and Barriers. Companies were divided into groups to work together and each group recorded their ideas, likes and concerns of the project, fitting them into the appropriate categories. Each idea was expressed as a group and each was described in detail with a conversation to follow


Bringing together key stakeholders to share the impacts of the Techno-Links project is one example of the collaborative process involved across many MEDA projects. It helps to ensure we are taking the right approach to our economic development work and that our clients always remain at the focus of what we do.

We hope Sarah’s reflection on the recent activities of the Techno-Links project shows another way your generous donation is unleashing entrepreneurship and creating better livelihoods for rural farmers and their families. From all of us at MEDA, thank you making this work possible!

Activity of finding impacts of Techno-Links
Activity of finding impacts of Techno-Links
Ecological fertilizer improve farmers
Ecological fertilizer improve farmers' coffee crop

At MEDA, we really enjoy bringing back stories of how our work, made possible by your support, is making a difference the lives of clients around the world. A big THANK YOU for your generosity toward the Techno-Links project. As a token of our appreciation for your generous gift, we'd like to share their stories.

Stefanie Santana and Sarah French, our MEDA interns in Peru and Nicaragua, are visiting Techno-Links clients and partners to see the impact MEDA’s work is having on their families and communities. Read on to see how your donation is changing lives…

Stefanie’s Update from the Field: Winds of change

A month ago, I started the most demanding but amazing part of my internship. I was assigned to conduct final interviews to Techno-Links farming clients in Peru, visiting almost 10 different cities all over the country. I consider myself very lucky as I got to see that our work in Techno-Links is actually bringing a REAL positive change into clients' lives. Gaining access to agricultural technology and training has been a great step towards modernity and profitability.

For example, farmers who are members of CAC Divisoria in Tingo Maria are able to prevent plagues and improve their coffee crops by using ecological fertilizers. In Piura, farmers working with Hualtaco have improved their revenue as their banana crops improved in quality thanks to agricultural techniques never used before in their communities. In Moyobamaba, members of Aproeco are able to add value to their coffee thanks to an industrial toaster machine.

These facilities have created a feeling of empowerment in farmers and as such, their aspirations have grown ­– they want to become the best in their region, export their products and compete with the biggest in the market. It was the effect Techno-Links aimed to create, to give that little push for them to reach new and greater markets.

Personally, it was very rewarding to meet these farmers. I will never forget the determination I saw in their eyes, their happiness and hospitality. My heart was deeply touched by their genuine actions.

Sarah’s Update from the Field: 8 Manzanas

I’m in Wiwili, the department of Jinotega, Nicaragua. On the horizon I can see the Honduras border while I’m sitting on a bench outside doing final interviews with farmers. The area produces a large crop of chia seeds and the Central American Commodities Trading (CAC), a Techno-Links partner, has taken advantage of this opportunity. 

CAC Trading is well known for having the most comprehensive program of chia seeds in Central America, with chia seeds being exported to the United States. They focus on giving technical assistance to farmers, and by using MEDA's Techno-Links program, they have been able to reach farmers in Wiwili. 

One particular individual caught my attention today - Jose. Jose produces only chia on his farm, while his wife and two girls work in the household and manage a clothing store. He has been working with the new technology from CAC Trading for one year and has noticed a significant change in his yield of chia seeds.

A year ago he was growing one manzana (about half a hectare) of chia seeds. Today, he has eight manzanas. This is one of the goals that CAC Trading strived to achieve by having farmers adopt new methods, increasing revenues through bothhigher yields and better prices.

Jose said that with the technical assistance of CAC Trading, he has a new market for his chia seeds, a higher production rate at harvest and an improved quality of chia seeds with new nutrients.

He’s happy, his family is happy and that makes me happy.


We hope Stefanie’s and Sarah’s reports demonstrate one more way your generous gift is changing lives. Thank you once again for forging links by providing rural farmers with better access to farming supplies and technology, enabling them to increase yields and gain new income opportunities for a sustainable future. Everyone deserves an opportunity to earn a livelihood, and your support has helped make this happen.

New technology improved banana crop and income
New technology improved banana crop and income
Coffee toaster has added value to Aproeco
Coffee toaster has added value to Aproeco's coffee
Sarah interviews Jose to hear his story of change
Sarah interviews Jose to hear his story of change


Nydia switched to the plantain vitro plant
Nydia switched to the plantain vitro plant

Entering the holiday season, we all have many things to be thankful for – whether it be friends, family, good health, employment, or basic necessities. However, not everyone in our world is as blessed.

That’s why we want to say THANK YOU for making the Techno-Links (Technology Links for Improved Access and Incomes) project possible! You are changing lives of rural farmers and their families in Nicaragua and Peru by providing them with better access to farming supplies, enabling them to increase yields and gain new income opportunities. This new technology means farming businesses can grow and offer sustainable livelihoods for families.

We are excited to share with you the latest news about how your generous gift to Techno-Links is making a life-changing difference.  Sarah French, a MEDA intern currently working with Techno-Links in Nicaragua, Sarah French, recently reported on one of the many ways MEDA is assisting farmers in Nicaragua…

The Love for Food, Science, and Word of Mouth

I visited the International School of Livestock and Agriculture in Rivas (EIAG in Spanish) where MEDA has supported the lab at the university to combine different plantain seeds to create a vitro plant that won’t be affected by disease or insects. Vitro selection screens plants for certain characteristics. With plantains, it selects for tolerance to diseases, insects and soil adaptability.

In past years, plantain production has been low due to the spread of black weevil, which feeds on the leaves, and black sigatoka disease, which causes yield losses. I went into the lab and saw the whole process.

I interviewed 20 male and female farmers to see their progress with the technology. Farmers said the planting of the plantain (vitro plant) was the same as the plantain they used before. The only difference was they didn’t have to use any or few pesticides. They had more production and the leaves were bigger and healthier. One farmer had no experience in planting plantains and said it was quite easy with the help of EIAG technicians.

One of the most amazing things I found in talking to local farmers was their desire to help one another. Many farmers, like Norbin Abel, said he likes the innovation and helping farmers gain new knowledge. Junior, a technician who explains the vitro plants to farmers, said he was sharing with farmers how to enjoy more stable production. The common objective of farmers, technicians and the university was to help one another in their community.

The goal of MEDA and EIAG is to have efficient production and incorporate small producers into the national and international market.

Carl Sagan in Science as a Candle in the Dark (1997) stated, “Advances in medicine and agriculture have saved vastly more lives than have been lost in all the wars in history.”


We hope Sarah’s report shows you one more way your generous gift is being put to good use for Techno-Links clients. Thank you once again for investing in their promising futures. You’ve made a difference in the lives of farmers striving to improve their businesses and better provide for their families. We are grateful to you for opening your heart to those in need and hope you feel great joy from the lives you have changed!

Sarah sees a plantain
Sarah sees a plantain's various stages in the lab
First time planting with the vitro plant plantain
First time planting with the vitro plant plantain
Farmers notice an larger improved plantain crop
Farmers notice an larger improved plantain crop


"My family wins by saving money."
"My family wins by saving money."

Thank you once again for your compassion and kindness towards people you’ve never met. We are only able to have the impact that we do with generous people like you.

Your thoughtful gift to MEDA’s Techno-Links (Technology Links for Improved Access and Incomes) project is changing lives for rural farmers and their families in Nicaragua and Peru. Click here to watch a video of how your support is making a difference.

Tecnosol, one of the first grant recipients of the Techno-Links Competitive Agriculture Technology Matching Grant Program, is a distributor of small-scale biodigestors manufactured by Sistema Biobolsa. Before this agriculture technology was available, rural families primarily burned firewood in order to produce energy for their kitchen stoves, a practice that is both destructive to the environment and their health.  Additionally, farmers were forced to pay high prices for chemical fertilizers.

See, how with your support, these biodigestors are now helping small farmers in Nicaragua turn waste into energy, organic fertilizer, improved health, increased incomes and new opportunities. Learning new methods and gaining access to new technology means animal waste is being used safely. It is simultaneously providing farmers with organic fertilizer, which leads to increased incomes and saves them money.

We hope that these interviews with our clients at their homes and in their fields make you feel a little closer to the generous support you gave. Thank you once again for investing in their promising futures. Through your assistance, many lives are changing for the better.

"It helps a lot. It is useful."
"It helps a lot. It is useful."



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Organization Information

MEDA - Mennonite Economic Development Associates

Location: Waterloo, ON - Canada
Website: http:/​/​
MEDA - Mennonite Economic Development Associates
Project Leader:
Linda Whitmore
Waterloo, ON Canada

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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