A total of 70 Quillota farmers participated for two years in the Corfo program called Node for Competitiveness "Strengthening the Horticultural Industry of the Region of Valparaíso".
"We are seeing the progress a farmer can make based on his own abilities and the management of his environment," said Quillota Governor César Barra.At the end of the initiative, regional and provincial authorities visited the demonstration farm of farmer Héctor Ugalde, where they learned how small farmers have incorporated technical irrigation and environmental knowledge, which has enabled them to improve productivity in a sustainable way.
During the 2 years of program execution, the beneficiaries were trained in the incorporation of production techniques in the use of plastics in horticulture; in productive knowledge in use of tools to determine water consumption of crops; in value added to vegetables and in knowledge in detecting new market opportunities and building business models.
Héctor Ugalde, owner of the demonstration farm, said that having been part of this program was profitable because "we were taught new technologies how to produce, and most important, how to produce cleanly." This is the second time Ugalde has participated in a Corfo program. "In the first occasion I was trained in irrigation techniques in a part of the farm and I was trained in company management and sustainable management. For this reason, this alliance has been very enriching. "
A key focus for this farmer is clean production. "I do not use pesticides; I use compost and I have vermiculture. The important thing is not that I say it, but show the achievements and how to prepare both products. Now, the new challenge is to teach what I have learned," he said.
Following the tour, Corfo regional director Hector Leiva said that the expectations of the program were fulfilled from two points of view: "First, because of the large number of participants during the two years, where they met new technology In the horticultural part, not only in irrigation but also in crops and crop combinations that allow to reduce costs in the subject of weed management and insects that could affect the production. Second, the participants created relationships and alliances between them. We think it was a very good project, especially focused on small farmers."
Leiva noted that he was struck by the interest of farmers in developing clean and sustainable agriculture. "We saw how they made their own compost, everything with nature. Towards that point, agriculture is going to be sustainable, friendly to the environment, seeking to give people food free of any foreign element that can cause harm."
Governor of Quillota, César Barra, highlighted the development of small farmers with the program implemented by Corfo and the support of INDAP.
"We are seeing the progress that a farmer can make based on his own abilities and the management of his environment, knowledge about the environment and what it means to adopt new methodologies that, based on experience and traditions, allow him to have greater Productivity, innovation, incorporating new crops at the same time protect the more traditional crops and make better use of the land and the products they have at hand in the field, starting with the waste.
"I believe that this logic of experience allows to give more sustainability to the agricultural production, to adopt measures that allow a more friendly handling with the environment and with the quality of the products; Eliminate the pesticide as a management element in production and -from that- be more competitive in the market delivering the possibility to the consumer of a healthy product. "
Finally, the Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Aland Tapia, stated that the Node for Competitiveness Program "Strengthening the Horticultural Industry of the Region of Valparaíso has achieved the main objective of contributing to improve the competitiveness of Micro and small entrepreneurs associated with fruit growing or horticulture.
"Therefore, through the improvement of the production of these crops, also improve efficiency. I think we are on the right track because farmers are happy because they have seen in their fields what we are looking for with this program."