Aldea Development provides one-on-one agricultural and business training to ensure the effective and efficient use of microloans, and to give farmers every opportunity for success on their farms. By focusing on practical teaching instead of simply theory, we ensure that farmers are equipped to implement the techniques they learn.
Our field officers learn through research and their own experience, and share this knowledge as it applies to individual farms. One of these training opportunities is our Coffee Farmer School, an in-depth, on-site training led by an experienced member of the Aldea team. The classroom is the field, not a large presentation room.
In our coffee training program, farmers learn about producing high quality coffee, available markets (you can order online Aldea Coffee from La Unión), and other complements to production, such as environmentally conscious farming techniques. Farmers also learn about ways to treat and prevent plant diseases such as coffee leaf rust (la roya in Spanish). Finally, when the harvest season arrives, our clients learn about saving their earnings and investing in their work for the future.
"What is the best way to . . . ?" That's a question everyone asks at some point, and in many cases the answer is unknown, or only partly answerable. That is case with development (social, economic, etc.). In order to continually learn more and improve our training program, we conduct research that focuses on practical research. The results of this research is then applied to our other programs.
We run all of our research in a scientifically rigorous manner so that anecdotes and conjecture form false answers. To date, we have run experiments on the effectiveness of organic fungicides in controlling coffee leaf rust, and the effects of drying on coffee quality. We now include the results of these experiments in our training program.