Tempisque Rice 2021

    Designer
    The Story of Tempisque Rice

    When climate disasters hit Mexico and Central America, entire bean, corn and coffee crops can be destroyed. This is devastating for small growers who depend on these products to eat and sell. EPIC partners have always taken an innovative approach to ensure food-security in the increasingly volatile climate but this year it is more urgent than ever. Project partners are working with small farmers on a new initiative: growing a drought and flood-resistant upland rice, called Tempisque. It is not traditionally grown in these areas but when other crops had failed, Tempisque rice has been resilient and continue to flourish in the fields.
    Learn more about this story below...

    Designer
    The Story of Tempisque Rice

    When climate disasters hit Mexico and Central America, entire bean, corn and coffee crops can be destroyed. This is devastating for small growers who depend on these products to eat and sell. EPIC partners have always taken an innovative approach to ensure food-security in the increasingly volatile climate but this year it is more urgent than ever. Project partners are working with small farmers on a new initiative: growing a drought and flood-resistant upland rice, called Tempisque. It is not traditionally grown in these areas but when other crops had failed, Tempisque rice has been resilient and continue to flourish in the fields.

    Slide
    Getting Started

    Rice is not traditionally grown in our project areas so getting seeds to our partners was a true cross-border adventure. When the bags of seeds were in the farmers' hands, then the hard work began. Workshops and planning sessions were held to map out the test fields, learn about cultivation and what to expect. Farmers were very eager to participate in growing this new drought and flood resistant crop.

    Slide
    A Cautious Start

    The hard-earned seeds are planted and the waiting begins. Slowly, thin shoots emerge in the curved terraced rows. Communicating across borders on WhatsApp, the farmers share their worries when there is too much rain or not enough. They do what they can: keeping the weeds away, protecting the seedlings as they grow and keeping an eye on the weather.

    Estamos pasando por un momento crítico. Llegaron unas días de lluvia y los productores sembraron como es costumbre (en mes de mayo). Las semillas germinaron, pero dejó de llover, ahora 20 días sin lluvia. Hay preocupacion...veremos que pasa.

    We are at a critical moment. A few days of rain came and the farmers planted in May, when they normally do. The seeds germinated but now the rain has stopped. We have had 20 days without rain and there is a lot of worry....we'll see what happens.

    Slide
    Inch by Inch

    After a couple of months, the rice plants continue to grow. However, there is still a lot anxiety in growing a new crop. Farmers need support at this stage and continue consult the extension agents and reach out to other farmers. They have built a community on WhatsApp that allows them to check-in, share growing techniques and, most importantly, share encouragement.

    Animo compadre! Esperamos que se logre una cosechita que valga la pena.

    Have courage, my friend! Hopefully, it will all be worth it when we get to the harvest.

    El cultivo de arroz es muy resistente a la sequia, y tendrán una buena experiencia sobre el cultivo.

    The rice is very resistant to drought. Growing it will be a good experience for you.

    Que bonito, hay esperanza!!!

    How beautiful, there is hope!

    Slide
    The Final Stretch

    The rice plants are getting taller and they have entered a more mature form. This is an exciting time and the farmers who start to plan for the harvest. Many of the participants in this trial are in different countries and learning in different environments. They are looking to those who harvest first and learning from their experience.

    El arroz crece con poca lluvia, a baja altura. No usamos compost pero sigue creciendo. Casi lista para la cosecha. In noviembre, Honduras comenzará a cosechar, tal vez Guatemala también.

    Rice is growing with little rain and at a low-altitude. We didn't use compost yet but it continues to grow. Almost ready for harvest...In November, Honduras will start harvesting, maybe Guatemala too.

    Slide
    A Bountiful Harvest

    They grain has matured and it ready for harvest. This is very joyful event and a new thrasher arrived just in time. This journey began with a bag of seeds and a lot of uncertainly. However, the results have been very impressive. Word is spreading and each year brings more communities who are willing to give growing rice a try.

    Follow our continuing story of Tempisque rice; it has only just begun...