Caught between floods and drought: Farmers in Nicaragua living in uncertainty

  • Date June 12th 2019
  • Author Lise Josefsen Hermann

Across the Central American Dry Corridor, communities are facing increasingly extreme weather. In Nicaragua, the region’s poorest country, subsistence farmers like Blanca Landero Betarco face a daily battle.

The air is dry and the heat intense in the village of La Grecia in north-western Nicaragua. The temperature is a little more forgiving inside the modest red brick house where Blanca Landero Betarco shows off her small harvest of red beans.

Like her parents, and their parents before them, 60-year-old Betarco lives from subsistence farming — growing beans, rice, corn and wheat. However in recent years, the land hasn’t yielded enough to subsist on.

“I don’t know how many more years I’ll be able to stay living here on this land, in these conditions — whether I’m going to starve to death,” Betarco told DW. “Because that’s what this land might have in store for us: death.”

Read more: The women left to face climate change and overfishing alone 

La Grecia is in the Chinandega area in a region known as the Dry Corridor that extends along the Pacific coast of Central America, through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.

When El Nino hit from 2014 to 2016, drought laid waste to food production in the Dry Corridor. Betarco and her family made it through on the little money two of her four children earned working at local factories, but hunger became an everyday reality.

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