We have an update from San Antonio, which along with Luis Alberto Vasquez, is a first-level cooperative that we work with in Nicaragua. Like Luis Alberto, San Antonio was severely affected by the rust epidemic and saw yields drop from an average of 120,000 lbs. per year to 20,000. With funds from the Just Us! Rust Recovery Program San Antonio created a revolving loan fund to support individual families in their efforts to combat the rust, and distributed $300 to an initial 20 families.
Parallel to the rust recovery, San Antonio saw the need to explore gender roles and empowerment in their cooperative. A first step in the investigation was a trip to Juan Fransisco Paz Silva, a nearby cooperative that has pioneered an initiative to recognize the unpaid work of women in sesame production along with Etico, our partner in Nicaragua.