Mauricio Segura Araya (’07, Costa Rica)
Mauricio is a passionate champion for the sustainable development of small famers and the rural communities of Costa Rica. In his current role as a regional project manager for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in Costa Rica he oversees the creation, implementation, and follow-up of projects financed by the Ministry to help farming cooperatives add value to their production. He also helps farmers who don’t qualify for government financing find alternate funding organizations in Costa Rica.
“Helping farmer cooperatives access financial and technical resources to grow their businesses, advising them so that a farmer doesn’t lose his land by mortgaging his farm, or discussing action plans with other public institutions to promote the development of the agricultural sector…it all makes me feel like I’m fulfilling the mission of EARTH.”
His projects have benefited more than 1,000 farmers, and range from fruit processing equipment and refrigeration systems for a group of 36 organic fruit and vegetable farmers, to a project that helps a coffee co-op of more than 600 farmers transform their production waste into organic fertilizer.
Prior to joining the Ministry, Mauricio worked on a development project in southern Costa Rica, promoting self-sufficient farming and the commercialization of excess production among Ngöbe-Buglé indigenous communities. He also served as an advisor to the Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy of Costa Rica, which led to the passage of programs to stimulate development in Northern Costa Rica through hydroelectric power, irrigation and potable water programs.
Mauricio was also the field coordinator for the PROMES (Promoting Sustainable Markets)—a four-year project based in Northern Costa Rica, managed by EARTH University with financing from the Spanish International Cooperation Agency for Development. In this role Mauricio organized, trained, and advised more than 200 pepper, pineapple and cacao farmers in this vulnerable region, helping them improve the sustainability of their farms, market their products, and add value to their production and farms.
Mauricio attributes his holistic vision of sustainable development to his years at EARTH and throughout his career he has worked hard to encourage small farmers to organize and work together, while differentiating themselves through more sustainable, socially just production models.
“While working with farmers to reach organic and/or sustainability in the production, there is also a huge effort to inspire sensitivity and loyalty, and establish shared principles and values required to work in an organized group.”
Mauricio firmly asserts that it is a result of the scholarship to attend EARTH that he has been able to give back to disadvantaged communities in Costa Rica and contribute to its sustainable development.
“What I am is a product of my parents, my teachers and EARTH.”