This past weekend the community of Omereque held an Agriculture Fair to showcase the new crops they have been able to grow this year. With water from the 148 atajados (farm ponds) Mano a Mano has built in the Omereque area, farmers planted vegetable and fruit crops that they have never planted before (tomatoes, celery, peppers, squash, carrots, beets, cabbage, lima beans, peas, lettuce, onions, radishes, achojcha, watermelon, and chirimoya). Usually these crops are only able to be grown at lower altitudes, but because there was sufficient water they were able to gorw these crops. This fall they will plant their usual staple crops of corn and more potatoes.
One of the 148 atajados built in Omereque; each pond provides water for 1-4 families
Some of the varied produce at the Agriculture Fair
Because they had such success with their new crops, the municipality decided to sponsor a fair to which farmers brought their produce to show to others who came from throughout the region. Agronomists judged the produce. Mano a Mano staff and volunteers traveled from Cochabamba to attend as well.
One of the displays at the fair
The farmers and the municipal officials are very excited about the ponds. They held sufficient water to irrigate these varied crops. The vegetables and fruits grown this season are completely new to these farmers, and they are grateful to have this food for their families. Now that they have seen how well these crops grow in their area, they plan to plant more of them to sell in city markets next year. Mano a Mano has worked extensively with the community of Omereque; in addition to the 148 atajados, we have also constructed classrooms, teacher housing, a maternity ward, roads, and airstrips. They have worked very hard to improve their community, and we are very happy for them to see the fruits of their labor.