Mexico tree plan in El Salvador aims to stem migration

Mexico tree plan in El Salvador aims to stem migration
Salvadoran farmer Jose Jacobo Orellana, who five years ago saw his son leave illegally for the United States, walks during the launch of the "Sowing Life" program, in San Luis Talpa, El Salvador, Friday, July 19, 2019. El Salvador and Mexico have joined forces in an economic program that is supposed to generate 20 thousand jobs in El Salvador. The program called “Sowing Life”will give farmers $250 as a monthly stipend to help them grow their own crops. (AP Photo/Salvador Melendez)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Mexico is bringing to El Salvador a tree-planting program that aims to support rural residents and ease economic pressures driving thousands of people to leave for the United States.

The program known as “Sowing Life” offers farmers $250 a month to plant fruit or timber trees, and whatever they harvest belongs to them.

Mexico donated $31 million to fund the plan in El Salvador, and authorities say it should create 20,000 jobs.

A similar initiative is in place for southern Mexico, and the country has said it intends to extend it to Honduras.

“Sowing Life” comes amid a wave of people fleeing Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador to escape poverty and violence.

Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard launched the program Friday alongside El Salvador’s new president, Nayib Bukele.