Setting graduation from poverty as the goal of agricultural projects improves their performance. It tests the feasibility of projects, improves project planning, evaluation, and results, and broadens farmers’ horizons.
There is a direct relationship between the problem of soil erosion and the problem of rural poverty. Each problem is partially caused by the other, and neither can be solved without also solving the other.
Northern Chimaltenango is one of the poorest regions of Guatemala. Farmers have small plots of hillside land, and they grow corn and beans for food and coffee for income. Many farmers received U.S. food-aid
Farming practices are adopted by season. For example, coffee farmers improve the shading of their trees, prune them, and construct bench terraces on steep land during the dry season.
The purpose of agricultural extension is to help poor farmers adopt better farming practices. Extension staff can either tell farmers what to do or they can actually help them perform the better practices on their farm plots.
Agricultural projects are anti-poverty projects and the goal is to graduate farmers from poverty. Increasing women’s leadership, empowerment, and equality is an additional goal.
Peter Drucker made ‘If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it’ a dictum of good management. Poor farmers need to measure their increases in income in order to improve their business decisions and make the full transition from subsistence to successful commercial farming.