Miguel Aguilar is an emerging leader in a mango producing area close to the Municipality of Irupana, Yungas of La Paz. He is a technical specialist working with the Regional Agrarian Corporation of Irupana. Through a sectoral intervention, he has received training and technical assistance from USAID’s Bolivia Rural Competitiveness Activity on mango production improvement. He also completed a U.S. government-sponsored training course in small business and microenterprise development in the United States
The organization that employs him is one of the largest and most important producer organizations in the Yungas Region. It consists of 650 rural families dedicated to production of high-value products such as coffee, honey, amaranth and fresh fruit (mango). The Rural Competitiveness Activity provides technical assistance to its members on production, post-harvest management, and access to local and international and domestic markets for a variety of products.
Through the project’s assistance to the mango sector, more than 200 rehabilitated or new hectares have been established in 2010 under sound technical practices in pruning and pest management. The assistance is helping producers understand the importance of offering improved quality fruit for the market to increase their income and improve the living conditions of their families and their communities.
Aguilar said, “My trip to the U.S. complemented the assistance I have received from the U.S. government. As rural producers, we all must learn that our products need to be of good quality. We need to give more value to our products and try to process them to get higher prices. With our work, we also generate more jobs — we must develop that kind of mentality.”
The training and assistance Aguilar received through USAID and complementary programs have prepared him to serve training needs of other members of his organization, enabling them to generate employment and increase their income in their fight against poverty.