Good morning everyone.
To you all, the farmers and entrepreneurs that are inspiring us with your stories full of positive energy, hope and perseverance this morning.
Thank you for coming from so far away to celebrate the changes you are making. The people and the government of the United States of America are pleased to support projects such as Livestock Enterprise (GANE) because it shows us how working together between the public and private sectors can transform lives. This project creates shared value among all actors in the production chain. This helps us to transform countries, economic sectors, communities, families, and people. That is what the GANE project has achieved.
This morning I want to focus on three of the stories that we have heard because they deserve extra recognition. Mr. Efrain Nieves, a farmer from Paiwas, very far from Managua, said that after a lifetime of producing one milk carton per day, which he sold at unstable prices during the year, he finally found a stable marketing channel to sell his product through the Multiple Services Cooperative Union in Paiwas.
Thanks to the different trainings provided by the GANE project, he was able to adopt a business vision focused on the market. This enabled him to develop a good business relationship with the Multiple Services Cooperative Union in Paiwas and increased his milk production.
Nowadays, Mr. Nieves has a fixed monthly income which allows him to send his daughters to study at the university here in Managua.
Likewise, the Cooperative Union in Paiwas receives better quality milk which allows it to supply their products to the La Perfecta Company in Managua.
As a result, the Cooperative offers this marketing benefit to other dairy associates. La Perfecta also benefits because it can sell better products to its customers.
Everyone wins with GANE: producers, businessmen, and consumers.
I also loved the story of Doña Julieta Navarro. She is a 60-year-old producer from Nueva Guinea. Because of the project’s intervention, she learned to manage her farm as a business. Doña Julieta adopted technologies such as the use of electric fences, improved pastures, and the installation of water systems for livestock.
She was able to improve the management and nutrition of her herd which allowed her to increase her income and reduce the deaths of her calves and cows, which was once a serious problem.
Today, Doña Julieta generates a stable income year-round, which makes her as a woman feel empowered and fulfilled.
The third story is about the cooperative UNAGUAS. This cooperative is unique because it managed to implement a policy of gender equity among its partners, creating many job opportunities for women.
Today UNAGUAS is administered by a woman. Gender policy has added a lot of value to the cooperative since women have done an excellent job in administration and operations.
The women have also been a source of innovation in the processing of dairy products. The cooperative, through the center of milk collection, offers a series of processed products such as morolique cheese and sour cream that are generating higher income.
In less than two years the cooperative has doubled its employees and in the coming weeks it will open six new positions as they open new routes for milk collection.
They are mainly employing young people from the area where they operate. And men are also working together with women so that everyone wins.
These three stories that I am highlighting are enchanting and inspiring more than 5,500 beneficiaries of this project.
You all are living examples of the different efforts the United States Government is making to improve the lives of thousands of Nicaraguans with projects including good agricultural practices, bovine traceability, farm management, livestock nutrition, and the use of technologies to improve productive yields.
We believe that you are the heart of Nicaragua’s economy and we want to recognize the importance that economic development projects are having in the rural areas of this country today.
The ultimate goal of these programs is to contribute to improving the incomes of producers and reducing poverty levels, which is one of the fundamental pillars of the work of the United States Government in Nicaragua.
We believe that Nicaragua’s livestock sector has many opportunities to contribute to the development of the economy. Nevertheless it has important challenges.
These include improving productive infrastructure, strengthening technical knowledge, creating win-win relationships between industry and producers, and diversifying markets and products.
But we are sure that with the technical knowledge gained during the implementation of the program, you are now better able to meet those challenges.
Change and the future depend on you.
The United States Government will continue to be a strong ally in Nicaragua’s agricultural sector and we hope to continue working hand in hand with all the actors supporting the strengthening of this country.
Thank you and I wish you great success.