Protein is often unaffordable for low-income Nicaraguan farm families, but Quality Protein Maize (QPM) is an affordable crop farm families can feed their children. Self-Help's interventions help improve food security for low-income rural families, by increasing agricultural production to improve nutrition. SHI provides trainings on improved farming methods and the importance of QPM, which is higher yielding than creole corn and has 90% of the protein found in a glass of skim milk.
17% of Nicaraguan children under the age of 5 experience stunting, an indicator of malnutrition. Protein in particular is critical to proper childhood brain development, yet meat, dairy & eggs are unaffordable for many families. Poor nutrition & low yields are major challenges faced by subsistence farm families, which have limited access to land, resources, & training to increase yields. This leaves families struggling to maintain steady incomes to feed their loved ones.
QPM is a corn high in digestible protein. Since corn is a staple in the Nicaraguan diet, QPM is an appropriate alternative source of protein. SHI will provide seed, inputs, and financing to low-income farmers to cultivate QPM, and will train farmers on how to use appropriate, affordable technology to increase crop yields & reduce post-harvest loss. Financing will support farmers in putting their knowledge into action, to grow QPM & better nourish their local communities.
The impact from Self-Help's agriculture program is two-fold: the increased financial benefit to small-scale farming families who produce the seed corn, and increased yields and nutrition for smallholder farmers who plant it for household consumption. Former subsistence farmers are now finding that their increased maize yields mean income for their families. Families consume some of the maize they produce, and commercialize the rest. This leads to better incomes and better nutrition.
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