The ceremony, which was attended by almost 200 people, was led by the Mayor of Huara, José Bartolo; the Chairman of the Board of Directors of SQM, Gonzalo Guerrero; and the CEO of the La Semilla Foundation, Héctor Nordetti, who highlighted the public-private commitment to the sustainable development of the sector.
This is the second donation of farm machinery for these families, who belong to the nine organizations engaged in this initiative of dialogue and shared social value. With a ceremony at the town’s community center, the donation fulfilled yet another of the commitments acquired in the Bajo Soga-SQM Working Group. In addition to the equipment, 12.5 kilometers of refurbished roads were inaugurated, which will improve connectivity in the area.
The 11 pieces of equipment included in this second donation fulfill the commitment made in 2022, when the first tractors, farm equipment and more than 24 tons of nutrients were delivered. Each of these initiatives is supported in the field by the team from the La Semilla Foundation and professionals from SQM’s Atacama Tierra Fértil program.
“The machinery will help us a lot to improve our crops and our yields. This is great help that we have achieved after several years of struggle. In addition, the new roads give us more access and connectivity. Before, our children had to walk along the highway,” said Liseth Vilches, secretary of the Pukará Indigenous Association, during the ceremony.
Gonzalo Guerrero, Chairman of SQM’s Board of Directors, highlighted the company’s commitment to shared social value, which seeks to deliver value to the ecosystem around its operations. “Here in Bajo Soga we have been engaged in conversations through the working group for over two years. This group has outlined four specific project areas, including today’s second delivery of machinery, which is in addition to seven training courses, initiatives built together with the local community,” said the executive, adding that nowadays it is impossible to imagine a company like SQM existing without a relationship with the community that allows them to build a more sustainable future together.
The donations included two tractors, two rotovators, two fumigators, two 20-disc harrows, two disc plows and one subsoiler plow, machinery that was blessed during an Aymara offering ritual to mother earth.
José Bartolo, Mayor of Huara, highlighted the work done in the last two years, adding that “it is a dream come true for our farmers. Working in Bajo Soga is not easy, but effort, work, dedication and love for the land allow us to achieve this kind of thing through a strategic alliance. As a municipality we are pleased with all this machinery that will let us plant and harvest many more products in the area, to distribute regionally and also outside the region,” added the mayor.
In this same context, Héctor Nordetti, CEO of the La Semilla Foundation, an organization that has been working with SQM in different territories for over 10 years, expressed his joy at seeing this part of the pampas slowly becoming an oasis of production. “The area is boosting its capacities, especially through equipment donations and training for farmers, which help the community better organize and work together to develop Bajo Soga,” he added.
SQM has an important presence in the district of Huara, developing initiatives aimed at improving local quality of life in partnership with various groups, reaching localities such as Pisagua, Bajo Soga and Huara, from the sea to the pampas.
According to Pablo Pisani, Director of Communities and Public Affairs for SQM’s nitrates and iodine businesses, this work “aspires to have a positive impact on a community that is growing and becoming visible in the Norte Grande. For SQM, working with social organizations is key because it allows us to better contribute to the sustainable development of communities.
The ceremony included a small marketplace where the sector’s groups presented their most iconic products, including melons, zucchini, onions, garlic, carrots, among others. The day culminated with a traditional lunch prepared by the community and entertainment from the band “Sicuris de Camiña” and the lakitas group “Nueva Revelación de Azapa.”