April 18 - 25, 2020: A Family Farm Gets Solar-Powered Drip Irrigation in La Rinconada, Nicaragua

Travel with GRID in April 2020 to bring drip irrigation to the Gutierrez family farm in the community of La Rinconada in Jinotega, Nicaragua!


The Gutierrez family on their farm
The community of La Rinconada in the department of Jinotega, Nicaragua has 52 families with around 175 total inhabitants who make their living through agriculture and raising cattle. One of these families is lead by Pablo Gutierrez and Daisy Centeno, who produce onions, peppers, tomatoes, beans, corns and other vegetables and fruits with the help of their five children. To sell their crops, the Gutierrez family travels by public transportation for about an hour to get to the nearest markets.

This rural community does have access to electricity, but it is very expensive, especially if a family needs enough to power a pump to irrigate their crops. Many farmers rely on diesel or gasoline-powered motors to pump water to their crops, which is very costly and time consuming for the farmer to travel to obtain fuel. Those who cannot afford a generator irrigate their crops by hauling water in buckets by hand from a well or nearby river. In both cases, watering crops in the dry season is difficult due to the hot climate and lack of water accessibility, limiting the farmer’s annual yield.  

A horse munches on grass in Nicaragua
With the installation of a solar-powered water pump, the Gutierrez family will now be able to harness the natural powers of sun and gravity to sufficiently water the entire extent of their farm fields, drip by drip. The solar-powered drip irrigation system that GRID participants will install will provide energy to pump water from a well to a large tank mounted on a tall structure. Then, the force of gravity will distribute the water from the tank to irrigate the crops through a system of pipes. It will be the third drip irrigation system installed for GRID in this community after the farms of Maria Luisa and Freddy Cruz in 2018 and Boanerges and Luisa Cruz in 2016.

With this system, Pablo Gutierrez and Daisy Centeno will reduce their production costs by eliminating the cost to pump water and increase the diversity of the crops they can grow year-round. That, in addition to an increased yield, will increase their income substantially. The extra income will have a significant impact on the family, who plan to use this money to pay school fees and make improvements to their home. Saving money with solar drip irrigation will also improve the family's overall wellbeing. 

The Gutierrez family farm
During the week-long trip to Nicaragua, participants will be immersed in the rural La Rinconada community, staying in the community and working alongside GRID staff and partners. Participant will mount the solar panels to power a water pump, connect the pump, prepare the water storage tank, dig trenches for the irrigation tubes, and wire the load controller. Participants will also learn about the community and the Nicaraguan culture, and interact personally with families and community members. Before and after the project, participants will have the opportunity to explore some of the region, getting a behind-the-scenes look at the local cuisine and handicrafts. 

Water comes out of the pipe that was pumped with solar energy
A previously installed solar-powered drip irrigation system goes live!
Are you interested in joining GRID in Nicaragua for a hands-on experience installing solar-powered drip irrigation for the Gutierrez family? Let us know you're interested and we will schedule a time to chat over the phone. You'll be able to officially reserve your spot on the trip with a 25% non-refundable deposit.

Trip Dates: April 18-25, 2020

Location: La Rinconada, La Concordia, Jinotega, Nicaragua

Trip Cost: $1,800

The $1,800 trip fee covers all lodging, meals, transportation, and activities during your stay in Nicaragua. This contribution also makes the project itself possible! The fee does not include airfare to and from Nicaragua or short-term international travel health insurance. You can fundraise for the trip from your personal networks or pay out of pocket. Have a question about participating? Check out our FAQs to get more information. 

There are only 10 spots available for this trip so sign up now!

Contact us for more information about our trips!