Planting the Seeds for More Growth in 2017

“Growing Together in Harmony” was the theme in the Monte Carmelo Retreat House in San Marcos-Carazo, Nicaragua, where 58 smallholder farmers, 23 Burke Agro employees and 9 local government representatives gathered for Burke Agro’s first Meeting of Raw Material Suppliers. The event focused on strengthening the commercial relationship with the company’s active suppliers of raw materials (mango, pineapple, and pitahaya) as well as presenting the organization’s great achievements from 2016.

In addition to the 2016 achievements, which included the purchase of new organic certificates, increased production numbers from 2015, and the expansion of Burke Agro’s product line, many of the farmers had the opportunity to share their personal success stories and present questions to the Burke Agro managerial staff. 

The event was highlighted by a speech from William Burke (Founder and CEO) in which he not only guaranteed to purchase every piece of pitahaya harvested in 2017, but announced a $200K credit fund for the farmers in order to buy more biofuel, modern farming equipment, and new organic certifications.

Burke’s vision for 2017 also includes improving production methods and efficiency, streamlining raw material collection by implementing an interest payment system, and opening credit and long-term bank accounts for growers.

“These are the results of both the hard work that we put in our farms and the company’s support and trust in us.” said Adillo, a pitahaya farmer from the Masaya region, “We can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in 2017.” 

 

New Technologies, New Markets, New Outlook On Nicaraguan Farming

September 29, 2016 - Burke Agro S.A. attended the 1st National Congress of New Technologies for Organic and Non-organic Crops. The company was invited by the leading organization within Nicaragua’s agrochemical sector, Rappaccioli McGregor S.A (RAMAC).

More than 170 national producers were in attendance to learn about new technologies, tools, and agriculture practices being implemented in other countries, including Colombia, Italy, the United States. Some of these topics included: introducing new seed varieties, addressing crop management needs (mainly in bioinsumption), soil improvement, plant health and nutrition, and increasing yearly yields.

Engineer Mario Rappaccioli, General Manager at RAMAC, commented that because Nicaragua is an agriculturally driven country, the goal of the congress was to present technological advances that could increase productivity within the industry.

Two years of research was presented at the event with the simple goal of offering solutions to combat the issues of pests and diseases associated with organic crops. Over time, Rappaccioli hopes that these advances implemented by other nations will make Nicaraguan products more accepted on an international level.

Burke Agro’s field team participated in the event in order to add depth to its Internal Control System (SIC). SIC not only monitors the quality and safety of crops, but also helps farmers advance their technologies and outputs. SIC has already helped many farmers increase their yields by introducing new tools and processes where none existed, but this event further solidifies its interest in learning about alternatives to traditional organic production.

Imagine:

You’re a single mother.

You’re a single mother living in a developing country.

You’re a single mother living in a developing country and you support your family on a dollar a day.

You’re a single mother living in a developing country. You support your family on a dollar a day and don’t have access to healthcare or basic medical necessities.

You’re a single mother living in a developing country. You support your family on a dollar a day, don’t have access to healthcare or basic medical necessities and just developed cervical cancer – a treatable and preventable disease that has an 85% mortality rate in developing countries.

Imagine.

The fear. The panic. What would you do?

Most of us could never even fathom being in this situation, but for countless others, this nightmare is all too real.

Like so many other women in Nicaragua, Anielka Medina Escoto’s family was directly impacted by cervical cancer. Just after graduating high school, she experienced her 48-year-old mother’s excruciating battle and death from this preventable disease.

As tragic as Anielka’s story is, she is not alone. Nicaragua has the highest cervical cancer mortality rate in the Americas both due to its inadequate health care system (PAP screening is available to less than 10% of women) and prevailing “machista” behaviors that propagate HPV, the cause of cervical cancer.

It is estimated that women, without a spouse or partner, head up 40% of households in Nicaragua. Cervical cancer, a disease that is very treatable and preventable in countries like the United States, contributes to more than 85% of cancer-related deaths in developing countries, like Nicaragua.

Cervical cancer destroys families and leaves children on their own, with extended family, or at the care of the community. Without a father, without a mother, without a home, the children are often alone in a seemingly endless cycle of poverty and despair.

Fortunately, Anielka’s story didn’t end the way most do.  Through strength, courage and a desire to help others, Anielka earned a scholarship to university (UNAN), trained in cervical cancer prevention, and co-founded The Lily Project with partners Jonathan Butcher and Susan Cotton.

The Lily Project was founded on a simple belief; every person has a right to health - not just the absence of disease, but also a state of complete physical, mental and social well being.

The team is working to become the most trusted provider of health services for women and girls living in rural communities, and prevent cervical cancer for more than 200,000 impoverished women.

It is because of these beliefs and efforts that we teamed up with The Lily Project for our first annual free treatment and screening event on Dec. 10 in order to educate and empower over 100 women and mothers. Burke Agro understands that women are the heart and soul of their families and communities, because single mothers are also the strength of ours.

Sol Simple, the face Burke Agro’s retail and commercial products, employs hundreds of single mothers in marginalized communities in an effort to advance the overall well being of women and their families in Nicaragua. We coordinate directly with local government, educational institutions and international developmental agencies to provide these women with the skills and means to better their lives and surroundings.

To learn more about The Lily Project and its mission, please visit:www.thelilyproject.org

You can learn more about Sol Simple at: solsimple.com

Now Our Products are Part of the Non-GMO Project Verified Family

Sol Simple is pleased to announce that its organic dried banana, mango, pineapple, sun-dried and baked cashews are now Non-GMO Project verified.

Nourishing your body from Sol to Soul, Sol Simple uses renewable energy to produce the best in quality natural and organic products. While working directly with local farmers and single mothers to ensure product efficiency, Sol Simple keeps working to meet and exceeds its customers’ expectations. The Non-GMO Project, a non-profit organization, serves North America's only third party verification to clearly label non-GMO (genetically modified organism) food and products.

“We've always been GMO free and have pioneered organic farming in Nicaragua,” says Will Burke, Founder of Sol Simple. “We are happy to now be part of the Non-GMO Project verified family." 

Sol Simple’s organic dried products have been part of a rigorous and ongoing process of testing ingredients for the Non-GMO Project to verify GMO avoidance, including segregation and traceability to prevent contamination.  With GMO's now present in more than 80% of conventional processed food, the Non-GMO Project is a reliable way to avoid GMO's. Therefore, receiving Non-GMO Project verification has added value to Sol Simple's customers.