Local man reflects on trip to study farming

In November of 2007, Ken Ditzler traveled to Nicaragua for 12 days as part of a trip sponsored by the Canadian Foodgrains

  • Mar. 6, 2014 7:00 a.m.

In November of 2007, Ken Ditzler traveled to Nicaragua for 12 days as part of a trip sponsored by the Canadian Foodgrains Bank to study and evaluate the food security practices of Nicaraguan farmers.

Last month, Ditzler shared that experience with Lacombians in a presentation at the Lacombe Memorial Centre entitled ‘End Hunger’.

“People of the world have always experienced food shortages,” said Ditzler.

He then went on to explain how the Canadian Foodgrains Bank is working to make that fact nothing more than a part of history.

Ditzler has long been involved with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, which farms land in Canada and then distributes grains to developing countries around the world.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank also sells grains and uses the funds for projects to help fight hunger in developing countries.

It was one such project that led to Ditzler taking a trip to Nicaragua to study food security.

He said the concept of food security is that people would have the ability to produce enough food to support themselves each year rather than have to depend on others for food again and again.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank had funded the trip because a few years before they had started training farmers to use new practices that would better secure their food production abilities.

Ditzler said the purpose of the trip was to see what the program had accomplished and evaluate whether or not it was working.

In his presentation, he described how the program worked.

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank employed trainers to teach new farming practices to local farming families.

Ditzler said the farmers usually started by working with the wives because they tended to be more open to the new ideas.

Once the women in the family understood how the new methods worked, they would work on getting their husbands to employ the new practices as well.

Once the men saw how the practices worked, they would encourage their friends and neighbours to do the same.

Much of the high-quality arable land in Nicaragua is owned by wealthy international landlords, said Ditzler.

As such, the locals are forced to farm lower-quality land on the hilly slopes in the mountainous areas of Nicaragua.

Therefore, many of the problems faced by the locals are related to water and there is difficulty in retaining moisture.

Ditzler said some of the new practices that were employed to use against this included not clearing crops from previous seasons, using trickle irrigations, and digging water-retaining ditches to catch water when it rains.

Farmers were encouraged to use the new practices by earning points they could exchange for funds to buy a number of household items or small luxuries. During the trip, Ditzler visited several local farms to see what they had accomplished since the program began.

After his experience, Ditzler said he thought the Canadian Foodgrains Bank’s investment in this program was a sound one.

He said that, before changing their farming practices, many of the local farmers could only produce enough food to sustain their families for a little more than half the year.

After using some of the new methods, farmers could produce enough food to sustain them and their families year-round.

Some even produced enough that they sell the excess at market for a little extra cash or provide their friends and neighbours with a few seeds for new crops.

news@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for the G7 Summit, at the airport in Newquay, United Kingdom, Thursday, June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Details on Canada’s vaccine sharing plan coming Sunday, up to 100 million doses

Canada’s high commissioner to the UK says details will come after the G7 summit

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec waves to the crowd during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Newborn daughter’s death inspires MP’s bill on bereavement leave for parents

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec says a day or two off not enough for some grieving parents

Victoria’s 2020 Canada Day celebration will not happen this year. (Black Press Media file photo)
Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations backs cancelling Canada Day celebration

Statement made after Victoria cancels Canada Day event as a statement of reconciliation

United Nurses of Alberta is slamming Health Minister Tyler Shandro for suggesting staff vacations are causing emergency room problems. (Black Press Media files)
Physicians were suffering burnout and then the pandemic made it worse, UBC study finds

Burnout prevalent among 68 per cent of doctors – likely a reflection of issue globally, says researcher

Most Read