Rethinking Agriculture to Increase Biodiversity and Decrease Flood Risk
With resources from local organizations, including the union of women’s farmer cooperatives “Las Brumas,” women in the north-central Jinotega region of Nicaragua conducted a risk mapping exercise to identify new solutions for improving food production. Experts introduced a variety of agricultural methods to reduce the community’s vulnerability to flood and drought, including table gardens, which are raised on an elevated surface. Local women then received training, seeds, and tools, and collectively decided how to use the land differently.
After five years, the number of diversified plots in the community quadrupled from 50 to 200 and crop production for household use increased five-fold. Each farmer’s annual net earnings increased roughly six-fold from C$2,200 to C$13,700. During the start of the project, crops were almost completely dedicated to coffee production. When women started to integrate more crops in one plot, household consumption of beans, a main food staple in Nicaragua, experienced a 19-fold increase.
Grassroots women’s successful implementation of these sustainable agricultural practices has garnered recognition from local and national authorities, who now consider the women experts on resilience. In the case of Wiwili municipality, the government has allocated part of their budget to address grassroots women’s agricultural priorities.