BYU’s Benson Institute to Help Ecuadorans Increase Farm Yields

“BYU’s Benson Institute to Help Ecuadorans Increase Farm Yields,” Ensign, Oct. 1983, 78

BYU’s Benson Institute to Help Ecuadorans Increase Farm Yields

Ecuadoran farmers are learning how to get more from their land as part of a two-year project instituted in their country by the Ezra Taft Benson Agriculture and Food Institute from Brigham Young University.

Institute personnel are showing the farmers how to produce more with the land and techniques available to them. D. Delos Ellsworth, director of the Benson Institute, explained that: scientists at BYU have developed a small-scale agriculture system adaptable to any of the approximately one billion small farms—plots of 2 1/2 acres or less—in the world. The institute’s system would make it possible for these farms to meet the nutritional needs of a family while producing a small cash crop.

The system uses crops and animals favored locally, so it can be adapted to almost any region, Brother Ellsworth said.

In Ecuador, BYU researchers are developing two test plots near Porto Viejo, in the province of Manabi. Researchers will demonstrate the small-scale agriculture system for families chosen through a BYU-directed survey and will help them implement the system on their own farms.

The system calls for farmers to grow both food and cash crops and to keep small animals for milk and meat. Soybeans, corn, and cotton are the crops used in Ecuador. Each family will also grow a small vegetable garden. Goats, rabbits, and chickens are the animals used.

Two BYU graduate students are living in Ecuador to manage the program for the duration of the institute’s contract with the Ecuadoran government, through May of 1985.

The Ecuadoran government learned about the Benson Institute project through Dr. Fidel Endara, vice minister of health, who visited BYU last year to enroll his two daughters in school. He carried word of the BYU research to Dr. Luis Sarrazin, minister of health, who took steps to bring the project to his country.