What's new at the María Elisabetta Farm in Chone (Ecuador), September 2017. The María Elisabetta Farm is located in Chone (Ecuador). It belongs to the Association Missionary Groups of the Home of the Mother (MGHM) and is dedicated to agricultural and livestock production in order to provide the necessary food for the Children's Soup Kitchen organized by the MGHM in the city of Chone, as well as to provide monthly packages (the so called 'baskets') which are delivered to families sponsored by the benefactors of the MGHM. Once these two needs are met, the rest of the production is destined for sale. The money obtained from it serves to cover the expenses of the farm and to pay the salaries of its workers. In this way, we can help feed the neediest population without adversely affecting the economy of the country, while creating jobs for local families.
In 2017, we were able to plant approximately six hectares of rice and two more of corn and peanuts, thanks to the work done of cleaning the drainage canal last year, which has allowed not only the recovery of a large number of hectares that are being used to graze cows but also to prevent flooding. Although we still do not know with certainty the number of quintals that we will obtain of rice, since it has not yet been stacked, we do know that the harvest of corn has amounted to 126 quintals. And, throughout the month of August, they have also re-planted the same hectares of squash and corn as last year.
Currently, the farm has twenty dairy cows, two of which were born on the farm. Of those twenty, fourteen are presently giving milk, although some only a few liters. There are also twenty-four calves, six males and eighteen females. And we have our own bull. Little by little, animals for the farm have been selected. Thus, this year the first four cows that were acquired for their meat were sold, as well as five calves. The money obtained from these sales, has been used in the acquisition of three more dairy cows, of good quality. And so far this year, a total of six calves have been born on the farm. The amount of milk produced since the beginning of the year is around 10,000 liters.
Currently, in the farm we have five piglets and three large pigs, all for fattening; eight pregnant mothers, a mother who aborted, and two reproducers, one active and one to raise. This year we decided to specialize in the rearing of piglets and leave only those that are needed for the soup kitchen to be fattened. It has been a very productive year, with an average of nine pigs per each birth under normal conditions.
This past season we also concluded the first breeding experience of Chame fish in very significant quantities and, despite the many difficulties that have arisen, it has been very enriching, and we are ready to start a new harvest.
The demolition and subsequent construction of a new house for some of the workers of the farm has also been carried out, since they were seriously damaged after the earthquake of April 16, 2017; and thanks be to God, they are already living in them. The roof that houses the pigs was rotting, so it has and has been changed and the height has been raised. A locking door has also been built by the rear access to the farm. These are the new projects we want to do:
• Construction of a fence (fence and door) in one of the areas around the house of one of the workers.
• Increase the size of the stable.
• Construction of a new well.
• Increase the size of the piglet’s house.
• Fix the countertops where the meat of the pigs is prepared.
• Acquire a balancing mixer.