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How rainwater harvesting is helping Nicaraguan farmers

November 27, 2011
"I've been a farmer for more than 40 years, but I never had an opportunity like this,"
- Victor Beltran

Mr Beltran lives in northern Nicaragua, one of the poorest and driest areas of the country, where a pilot project to harvest rainwater is beginning to transform local agriculture and local people's lives.

"Farmers have come from other parts of the country to see what is happening here. I no longer depend on seasonal rainfall. I produce three times more maize and have a surplus to trade," says Mr Beltran.

The project involves building earthen dams to form reservoirs or ponds that can collect surface water run-off from the hills during the rainy season.

Farmer Victor Beltran says the project has changed the way he works
The water is then used for irrigation during periods of drought.

"The problem in Nicaragua and the majority of tropical areas in Latin America is that you have a huge contrast between the rainy and the dry season," says Gonzalo Zorrilla, who is directing the project.

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