Many say the mountain phase is the toughest and most vital section of the Quad. Whether you run or walk, it will be both a mental and physical challenge.
Imagine having to climb up mountain terrain everyday just to go to work.
This is the life of Carlos Vicente – a snow pea farmer in Guatemala. Carlos’ fields perch precariously on the side of a steep hill, an hour’s hike up a dusty trail.
About 80 percent of the snow peas consumed in the United States are grown in Guatemala. Small farmers like Carlos tend to grow maize and beans to feed their families for part of the year, and then plant a crop like snow peas to sell for extra income.
But new regulations going into effect soon could keep Carlos and other small farmers out of the valuable US market. When the new rules take effect, any produce imported to the US, including Carlos’ snow peas, must be traceable back to the field where it was grown – regardless of whether it is on the side of a mountain.
Farmers like Carlos are often poor, and many can’t read – because of these challenges, it would be nearly impossible for them to comply with the new regulations on their own. To be shut out of selling their peas in the US would be disastrous for these families.
In order to help these farming communities thrive, Mercy Corps has partnered with an exporter to introduce new tracking software, called Farmforce, to the growers. After farming the peas, a guide from Carlos’ farming cooperative group arrives and puts all the information about the work he’s just done into Carlos’ Farmforce profile on a smartphone. He records what was planted and marks the GPS coordinates. As the peas grow, the software also tracks information about fertilizers and pesticides used.
Farmers then deliver their crop to be weighed and inspected closely to make sure it meets the exporter’s quality requirements. Each harvest is entered into the Farmforce software, and then each farmer’s snow peas are sent to the exporter to be shipped to the US.
Because of the Farmforce software, Carlos knows that he can keep growing snow peas, earning enough income to give his family a better future.
He’s proud of the way his community and the farming cooperative have risen to the challenge of new technology. “As an organisation, we’re doing things together. Whenever we do these things together, we succeed.”
As you take on the Munros of the Quad, know your fundraising is helping Mercy Corps partner with local communities to implement innovative projects that support people like Carlos.