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SID designs, proves, and promotes better methods for helping farmers make the transition from subsistence to successful commercial farming. Our innovations increase results and reduce costs. Most poor farmers work marginal land and we help them conserve their land as well as increase their income. We have additional activities for women that ensure they participate equally in the technical assistance and benefits of our projects. We help farmers adopt business as well as better farming practices. They make better business decisions and these practices drive more rapid adoption of the farming practices. We use "learn-by-doing" to help farmers adopt all the practices. We measure results in terms of increases in farmers’ income, and cost-effectiveness as the ratio of these increases to project cost. We work in Guatemala and Peru, the countries in Central and South America with the greatest number of rural poor, and we are now expanding our programs to Africa.
In 1996, we began our work in the Altiplano of Bolivia, helping dairy farmers reclaim land and increase productivity and income. We then helped quinoa farmers do the same.
In 2000, we began helping NGOs in the Sierra Sur of Perú achieve environmental and agricultural goals in the same project. We currently help dairy farmers near Lake Titicaca increase their cows’ productivity and reclaim land. We also provide loans to dairy farmers and cattle fatteners.
In 2006, we began our work in the Chimaltenango region of Guatemala, helping farmers increase their income from coffee. In 2015, we began working with 836 coffee-farming families in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala's poorest department. And in 2018, we began a bold new regional approach in this same department that gives over 18,000 coffee-farming families a chance to graduate from poverty.
Our policy is to achieve increases in income during the life of our projects that are 5 times project costs. The ratios of increases in income to project costs have been from 4.1 to 8.68.