We visited El Salvador!
After months of working remotely at Innovatech, we made our first trip to El Salvador, one of the six target countries of the project. For us it was an exciting trip in many ways, mainly because it was the first time we saw our IFAD colleagues in person and also because we finally had the opportunity to meet the key players for our work in El Salvador.
During the 5-day trip, our agenda was marked by a marathon of meetings and visits with the IFAD team and with members of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock of the Government of El Salvador, one of the key players in the country’s agricultural sector. Its program, “Rural Adelante”, seeks to increase the income of rural families living in poverty and vulnerability in a sustainable manner. We also met with the Agricultural Development Bank of El Salvador to present Innovatech and its goals.
After these first meetings in the capital city San Salvador, we reached the highlight of the trip: visiting the productive organizations and their representatives. For this purpose, we went to the department of San Miguel, where we participated in a meeting at the municipal mayor’s office of Ciudad Barrios to identify the needs and territorial requirements of the area. There we had the opportunity to visit three cooperative associations in the area focused, respectively, on tomato production, formulation of nutritional supplements and shrimp production.
What did we learn?
Having our feet on the ground, talking to the producers, listening to their concerns and experiencing their day-to-day life first-hand, was undoubtedly a very beneficial experience for directing the program towards a real impact. Innovatech is a project focused on bringing new technologies and innovation to rural areas, while our team enjoys working remotely thanks to the good digital tools we have available, not everything can be planned from the comfort of our homes.
Thanks to this trip, our team now has a clearer picture of the challenges faced by people engaged in productive activities in rural El Salvador. We are impressed by the great progress already made by IFAD projects in the country and we are confident that the link with Innovatech can further help to solve some of the main challenges identified with the productive organizations: product commercialization, access to financing and technical assistance.
Now it is up to us to define which startups should work with which organizations, so that through this cooperation they can develop innovative solutions to meet the needs of small farmers in El Salvador.