Reflection from a small-scale farmer in Honduras

Faustino ReyesFaustino Reyes is a small-scale farmer in Honduras. His testimony was collected by Progressio development worker Marvin Zavala Ruiz

I remember that when I was a child the farmers in the community knew when the winter was going to start and how fierce it was going to be, just by observing nature, the birds singing, the sun and the trees. But man has gradually lost his natural instinct as technologies have been imposed on him, destabilising the local economy, putting food sovereignty at risk and destroying natural resources.

Agricultural methods such as mono-cultivation, intensive livestock farming, slash and burn, have caused deforestation and the disappearance of water springs and wildlife. Man’s greed puts the lives of all living beings at risk. All this endangers the lives of poor families because these practices are not sustainable. Thousands of years ago the Earth’s top soil was darker and harvests were abundant.

Now, because of man’s intervention, soil fertility is low and needs more investment for it to produce crops. If we don’t start to protect natural resources, in very little time we will not have any ground that we can grow crops in and hunger will increase globally. The great writer who wrote the book of Genesis in the Bible says that God commanded the Earth to produce trees, bushes and plants to feed all the living creatures that live on the face of the Earth, whether they be creatures of the land, sea or sky. But man has mistakenly taken an attitude of greed for economic power that has led him to convert the planet into a desert and a hostile climate for himself and other living creatures.

Climate change is manifesting itself through natural phenomena such as drought in some places and floods in others, as well as an increase in plagues and illnesses in plants and human beings. Nature is wise and is making sure we pay the price for the damage we have done. People resist changing attitudes but human beings can recognise good from bad. Man knows that he commits sin by destroying natural resources. For thousands of years he has been intervening in the Earth to produce food. But now the planet is being destroyed because of bad practice in terms of soil usage. We must stop and recognise the wealth of knowledge that communities and local farmers have about nature and how it works.

Progressio is a progressive independent charity with Catholic roots that enables poor communities to solve their own problems through support from skilled workers. And we lobby decision-makers to change policies that keep people poor.

Photo: Faustino Reyes. [Photo credit: Progressio]