Young student from Nicaragua wins FAO video contest

Eduardo Rafael Martínez Bendaña was awarded first prize for his documentary, " Una Amiga de la Naturaleza” (A Friend of Nature)

The FAO Farmers' Best Soil Management Practices video contest was the first of its kind and aimed to offer farmers the opportunity to share locally developed solutions which are being used in their community and have positive impacts on the health of our soil. 

The response from around the world was overwhelming with over 65 videos from 20 countries received.

One of the main key messages to emerge from the 2015 International Year of Soils is that sustainable soil management  is a pre-condition for a productive food system, improved rural livelihoods and a healthy environment for future generations. 

"Una Amiga de la Naturaleza” captured this concept in a simple, fun and educational way. Mr Martínez Bendaña’s video tells the story of Mrs Dominga del Carmen Sotelo Vásquez who is a strong supporter and promoter of community gardening and farming in the Nicaraguan rural community of Planes de Cuajachillo.

The success story of Nicaragua's Mrs Sotelo Vásquez

In the video, Mrs Sotelo Vásquez shares information about sustainable ecological practices like vermiculture, composting and how to prepare the soil for planting. She also explains the importance of organic fertilizers and their correct use, among other techniques, in a clear step-by-step manner. 

The video ends with Mrs Sotelo Vásquez preparing a tortilla (omelette) with tomatoes, onions and other vegetables that she has successfully cultivated in her plot.

The video is effective and meaningful because Mr Martínez Bendaña successfully connects a number of sustainable soil management practices with the nutritious dish prepared showing that soils are where food begins.

Mr Martínez Bendaña succeeds in highlighting the direct connection between subsistence horticulture/family farming and nutrition/food security. The importance of community is also emphasized: we all have a role to play, no matter how small, in the protection and conservation of our soils. 

Mr Martínez Bendaña received  a diploma of recognition from FAO and the first prize of USD 3 000. The second and third places were awarded to Chile and Cuba respectively (you can see those videos here). 

A man on a mission

Another important story to emerge from this contest is the story of Eduardo Rafael Martínez Bendaña. A modest 26-year-old student from a small community in Nicaragua, who, with limited access to resources, succeeded against the odds in teaching us all a valuable lesson.

Take a look at the winning video


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