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San Marcos de Belén

“Saint Mark of Bethlehem”

Location: Belén, Rivas, Nicaragua

Size: 206 acres

Population: 13 families / 63 people

established: 2006

Primary Activities: Women's small businesses (bread), plantains, milk cows, livestock, avocado, papaya, chili peppers, passion fruit, basic grains, tomatos, and honey bees

History:

After conferring with the Institute of Rural Development and the local government, a group of farmers living in the Rivas area turned to Agros for help. They had been renting land from local farm owners in order to grow the basic grains needed to sustain their families and were looking for a way to secure their own land. By owning their land, the families hoped to organize their own community and earn enough money to send their children to school. One of their strongest attributes as a group is that they are willing to share with one another and work together to secure a better future for them and their children.

The land, located roughly 12 miles from the nearest market, has two rivers, a forest, and a pasture on it. The families, all of whom have several years of experience in farming and agriculture, are using the pasture to raise livestock such as cattle and sheep. Furthermore, they are using the rivers as a source of irrigation for their rice crops during the dry season. Along with raising livestock, the families are growing rice, beans, plantains, and sugarcane.