Children with Elmer and one of the goats
The dream to have a goat-based enterprise came true for the Ramirez-Cano family in the community of El Pinal.
El Pinal is located in a pine forest area where local farmers had to change traditional sugar cane farming to corn, beans and coffee due to competition from industrial sugar cane production. The area is affected by chronic malnutrition and receives Save the Children food security support, including goat raising to increase children´s milk consumption.
Don Elmer and Doña Natalia took this activity at a higher level acquiring five goats and they now produce goat cheese in addition to providing a daily glass of goat milk to neighboring 10 children under 5 years old. Elmer and Natalia added a lot of personal effort to the training received and now generate a steady daily household income of $6 a day in addition to occasional sale of goat kids; three were recently sold at around $50 each. Given that about half of the population of Guatemala live in poverty on less than $2 a day, the goats have been quite a boon.
Household fertilizer expenses and exposure to chemical pesticides were also reduced as they now successfully use goat droppings and urine. They report a 10% increase in corn production since using these goat by-products as manure and pest repellent.
Elmer and Nathalia´s family has become a model for their community and many approach them to learn their goat raising and farming practices. Their future now looks more promising and the genetic quality of their goats is improving thanks to crossing with selected goats promoted by the Save the Children.
In Elmer´s own words ‘I am very grateful for the support and opportunity received, it has changed my family’s life and I am happy when I see the smile of children when they drink their glass of goat milk every morning’.