Resilient Agriculture in Nicaragua
In the aftermath of the Nicaraguan civil war, women from both sides came together to rebuild. For some women, land was their only asset, and as they began to farm, organizing farmer cooperatives became an effective reconciliatory practice. As a result, the Unión de Cooperativas de Mujeres Productoras Las Brumas, Nicaragua (Union of Cooperatives of Women Las Brumas) began in Jinotega, and today, is a network of 22 cooperatives and over 1,320 women, working towards food security, livelihoods, land tenure and more transparent service delivery from local and national governmental programs.
With resources from the Community Resilience Fund, grassroots women purchased seeds, tools and other materials.
In June 2009, a group of grassroots women focused on training in formal agricultural methods to improve their quality of life. The President of Las Brumas, Haydee Rodriguez, collaborated with Helen Toruño, a farmer and president of one of the Union’s member groups, with formal training in agricultural engineering, to introduce new agricultural methods. With resources from the Community Resilience Fund, grassroots women purchased seeds, tools and other materials. They determined the optimal use of available plots, used organic fertilizer for crop improvement and practiced soil and water conservation, to avoid erosion and runoff.
From 2009 to 2014, the number of diversified plots in the community increased from 50 to 200, and each farmer’s annual net earnings increased from C$2,200 to C$13,700. Farm produce reserved for household food consumption increased from 200 to 1,500 quintales (1 quintal = 100 pounds). Through organization and training, grassroots women’s sustainable agricultural practices have not only increased productivity and security, but have also gained them recognition from local and national authorities. Their successful practices have positioned them as experts in resilience.