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Wednesday, August 20 2014 @ 06:44 AM EDT

Ngäbes Combat Poverty

Groups & OrganizationsWith a view to eradicating extreme poverty and malnutrition in the three areas of the Ngäbe Bugle region, the National Nutrition Program under the slogan "Big Steps" has developed self-sustaining farming projects benefiting some 13,700 indigenous people. One of the main objectives is for the beneficiaries in areas of difficult access to acquire the interest of creating community gardens so they do not have to travel long distances and buy consumer products, which through these farms can be acquired more cheaply. Joseph Honsany, the President of the Foundation for Nutrition, said he was very pleased with the results of the 65 farms that have already been implemented in the region, where many families have participated with a view towards combating the extreme poverty that exists in the region.

How These Farms Operate - They are managed by boards, formed by members of the community from which comes a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, speakers, and more partners. They also have funds which can be used for the purchase of supplies as part of becoming self sufficient. It should be noted that each group receives training in programs of planting vegetables, poultry and aquaculture projects. The main crops are fortified rice and creole rice, beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, yucca, avocado, coconut, lemon and Persian lime, mango, bananas, oranges, chickens, tilapia, farmed ducks and African timber trees such as mahogany.

Silvia Carrera, General chieftain of the region, said the project is good, but what is missing is for the local and regional chieftains to join, because there are people who mostly are in agreement, but as in any community work there are people who opposes the development of the region. (Mi Diario)

Editor's Comment: The other day Ursula Kiener Ford posted that, supposedly and according to her, more than 400,000 Panamanians are living on less than $1 dollar per day. That statement caught my attention and I called her on it, because I believed it to be incorrect. I asked her to quote her source for that statistic, and she sent me a link to this report, which I studied last weekend. And in fact it turns out while there are a whole lot of people living in poverty in Panama, I'm right, and she's wrong, based on her source reference. Without going into too much boring detail or the nitty-gritty of the statistics, the poverty level in Panama is generally defined as those living on about $3 per day, while those in extreme poverty are living on about $2 per day. The number of people living on $1 per day in Panama is not addressed anywhere in that report. And, the difference between getting by on $1 per day or $3 per day might not sound like much until it's you who's trying to pull it off. The simple fact is that $3 is 200% more than $1, so yeah, it's a massive difference. Listen - numbers mean things. There are people out there who will be making flat statements such as this and holding them up to be true, when they are not. The people who are poor and starving up in the mountains of the Ngäbe Bugle region are the pockets of extreme poverty in the Republic of Panama. The simple fact of the matter is that they exist where the jobs are not. They protest and block roads in order to prevent development in their region. They want to shut down the types of projects that might offer them opportunities, jobs, employment, and better nutrition for their children. But, for whatever reason, they don't want it. Christ, there's even people who are opposed to this community self sustaining food growing program. Whatever. I guess they have the right to starve themselves to death, if they want, right? Maybe those are the idiots who choose to live on less than $1 per day? Whatever. If I see anyone quoting BS numbers for political reasons I'll call them on it, and ask them to quote the correct stats from a reliable source. Pretty simple, eh? If they can prove their case, I'll buy in. However, that's not what happened this time around.

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