Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tree nurserys, a work day in Boca Del Monte

A local extentionist, Ernesto, came and visited the other day to do a tree nursery. The trees are for a reforestation project, and some will probably be used to shade coffee farms.

From may

The tree nursery.

Building the table for the nursery

From may

My host dad hanging out in my room/house.

From may

My host uncle, Elio, dishes out the coffee from a five gallon bucket. It gets you going when you drink it in bulk.
From may

The ride up to my site at 7 in the morning from the back of the pickup truck.

Work Santa Fe

Pictures from the second week of the business seminar. About 8 of us PCV are working with 30 tomato farmers on Agricultural business concepts and organisational techniques.
The farmers are great to work with, incredible nice people, harder working, and a great sense of humor, all necessary for having a sucessful workshop or seminar.

We do ice breakers to keep the energy level high.

This is Beatrice.

The day after the seminar we built a wooden depulper together as a group of about 10. Many of the tomato farmers are also coffee farmers. Hermongenie, pictured above, came out from my area to teach the farmers how to build the depulper.

From Seminar in Sa...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Some Quotations

Here are some Quotations that help me to think through my work here in Panama with coffee, when I'm thinking about developement.

Quotation from

Steve Talbot, a wise neo-Amish philosopher and author of Netfuture, asks a very insightful question in his latest issue:

Why does a certain obvious distinction not figure more centrally in economic theorizing - namely, the distinction between the application of capital in order to increase that capital itself, and its application in order to achieve something worthwhile in the world? Or, more simply: why do we not distinguish between using money to make money, or using it to do meaningful work?

J.B. Say

"The entrepreneur," said the French economist J. B. Say around 1800, "shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield."

greenspan quotation

"Remember, markets are not ends in themselves.They are constructs to assist populations in achieving the optimum allocation of resources" (p. 461).

Robert Riech

They argue Americans should learn to accept a lower standard of living and American business must adjust to a smaller domestic economy. This argument leaves out one salient fact:

Considered as a whole, the nation has enough productive capacity to provide a higher standard of living for its citizens and also be sustainable. With the right incentives, we could dramatically reduce energy use and carbon emissions while continuing to grow at a rate that provided most people with good jobs at good wages. The problem isn't economic growth per se.

Link to articles about coffee and coffee in Panama

Here are some articles in spanish from the biggest Panama Paper on coffee in Panama, and coffee in the Comarca:

Friday, May 2, 2008

Ag Business Seminar

I spent the past week in Santa Fe Veraguas working at an Agro Business Seminar.

40 tomato producers are preparing to recieve a loan to build green houses so they can increase thier production during the rainy season. The rains are so heavy there that with out a green house the tomatoes are destroyed by fugui. With a greenhouse the farmer can protect the tomatos.

Many of these farmers have never recieved a loan, so my friend Maria designed and organised the seminar to help some farmers learn about basic practical business concepts. Many farmers were happy to have the opportunity to get the loan, but at the same time were worried that the project might fail, and that they might not be able to pay the loans off.

It was a great experience this week to get to work with the tomato producers, and I get two more three day sessions with them over the course of the next two months.