THE FOOD SOVEREIGNTY PROGRAMME

Coffee Pulp:
• The farmers will return the coffee pulp to the soil in the form of compost. Coffee will be pulped on the farm in some cases where the farms are so remote it is too difficult to carry the compost up the steep mountainside to the farm.

 

Mulch:
• Likewise, the use of mulch for coffee, corn and beans whenever weed slashing is done, is promoted to be put at the base of the crops to increase organic matter and to re-introduce potassium and other minerals in to the soil.
Worm Composting:
• When conditions permit worm compost will be used as a complement to the fertilization process.

 

 

Soil Conservation Practices:
• Terrace gardening along contour lines is being promoted for all crops.
• In the case of corn and beans, mulching instead of using tillage is promoted.

 

Objectives

General:

To improve the production of coffee, corn and beans in the Ixil region.

 

Specific:

  • Add 166 new farmers to the program.

  • Provide technical assistance to improve crop yields.

  • Strengthen the promoters abilities with continuous training

 

Methodology 
A Call for Action:
A meeting has been held with the members of the Association Chajulense in the new communities that will be involved in the program in order to participate through the support of the local boards of the Association and local authorities.
Selection of promoters:
Since the Association has 26 years of experience in the area, and there are skilled farmers with excellent attitudes, these farmers have been selected to be the farmer/promoters of the roya recovery program.
Training of facilitators:
The program involves extensive training supervised by the program designer, Gonzalo Rodriguez. Nico Estrada, an experienced Campesino a Campesino developer, trains 3 Ixil technicians (former graduates from The Coffee Trust UVG Scholarship program who subsequently train the 18 selected Ixil farmer/promoters.
Training to farmers:
These Ixil farmer/promoters work directly with 25 Ixil farmers training them every 15 days.
Exchanges/Meetings:
During 2014 The Coffee Trust began with the application of microorganisms on a small section of each coffee farm. The intent was to observe the impact and respoond accordingly.  There has already been such an overwhelming, positive result in arresting the spread of La Roya, the Ems are now being applied to the farmers in tbeir entirety.  The EMs will be in full use for the added farms
Visits to the Farms:
Each promoter visits with 25 farmers every 15 days. At least 6 farmers will be visited daily. This part of the methodology is very important as the promoters must ensure that farmers are following the practices correctly. Over time, the farmers will change their farming practices to use EMs regularly, and mirror those procedures that replenish their soil, and strengthen their plants on a regular basis.

 

Program Components

Family Gardens:

  • Family gardens are been adopted by the women once they understand the usefulness.

  • In order to motivate the consumption of vegetables, part of the program includes cooking classes.

  • The Vermicompost is used to fertilize the family gardens.

  • The EMs are used to prevent disease and improve soil fertility

 

Worms:

  • The great advantage of the worms is that they breed in kitchen waste and manure from horses and cows. They are used as a protein supply for the chickens; in addition they produce the fertilizer for the gardens and other crops.

 

Efficient Microorganisms (EMs)

  • The EM () are used to improve the health of animals, and to improve crop production

  • EMs are reproduced in molasses to 2.5% with the following formula: 1 gallon of water, 100 ml of molasses and 100 ml microorganisms.

  • The alcohol and acid parts of the EMs function to kill pathogens on the vegetation.

  • A natural antibiotic in the EMs function to kill off many pathogens in the soil.

  • The EMs effectively compete for resources in the soil leaving little for competing pathogens, protecting the plant and breaking down the nutrients in the soil that can be more easily digested by the plant.

  • The Ixil promoters provide the women with 600 ml of molasses and 600 ml of microorganisms every 15 days. The women use this as a started for them to produce 3 gallons of Ems weekly for themselves and have enough for the use at their homes.

    Chickens:

  • With efficient microorganisms the mortality rate for chickens will be significantly reduced. EMs are added to the water, the food and pens are fumigated with Ems periodically.

  • To feed the Chickens, different sources of carbohydrates are used, such as broken corn, hominy, old tortillas, etc.; worms are a source of protein; vitamins and minerals are supplemented with green leaves and ashes.

 

Efficient Stoves:

  • The cheapest model of stove is going to be promoted, so that it will be accessible to the beneficiaries and also possible to repair in case of damage.

  • The chimney will be inclined, thus avoiding problems of water leaking in the vents.

  • A follow up of the maintenance of the stoves is implemented.

Savings

  • Savings is a very important component for the sustainability of the program. Women will save Q5.00 per week to be able to buy the stove.

  • In order to implement the savings in the groups, a local board has to be elected to manage and take care of the savings.

  • Bank accounts will be open in the local bank, and the local board shall deposit the savings as soon as received.

 

Objectives

General: To ensure food sovereignty in the Ixil region

 

Specific:

  • Disseminate appropriate technologies validated in the program.

  • Consolidate technologies with beneficiaries of the program.

  • Strengthening capacities of promoters and staff.

 

Methodology

 

Organizing the groups:

 

The wives of the members of Asociación Chajulense that are not yet participating in the program of food sovereignty are going to be invited. Local boards of Asociacion Chajulense and local authorities are going to be involved in order to support the process.

Trainings:

Trainings the new beneficiaries starts by gradually implementing the components.

Exchange Meetings:

The new beneficiaries will visit the old ones so that they can learn from them and their process.

Home Visits by the promoters:

The technicians are going to visit the homes of the new beneficiaries every 45 days until promoters are going to be chosen. Once chosen they are going to visit the beneficiaries every 15 days in the same way the promoters from Sotzil do. Home visits are crucial for assimilating the technologies.

Trainings to the team:

The promoters receive a weekly training; the goal is that they become excellent examples from the rest. The technicians are going to be trained by the Coordinator of the program. There are going to be exchange trips to other development programs similar to that of food sovereignty in the Ixil region.

 

Activities

 

To Disseminate the Technologies

  • Information to local boards and local authorities.

  • Invite the wives of the members of Asociación Chajulense

  • Trainings every fifteen days about the components of the program

  • Two exchange trips between the beneficiaries of the program

  • Home visits to the new beneficiaries every month and a half

To consolidate the technologies with the beneficiaries

  • Trainings to beneficiaries every fifteen days

  • Home visits every 15 days to the beneficiaries by the promoters

To strengthen the capacities of the promoters

  • Weekly trainings to promoters and technicians

  • 1 exchange trip with promoters and staff.

 

Project Duration, Start and Completion Dates, and Key Milestones

Project Duration: 12 months (January  to December 2015):

 

Key Milestones:

After the first 6 to 9 months:

 

Food Sovereignty

  • New technicians and promoters selected and trained

  • New beneficiaries reproduce and use Ems in their families, animals and family gardens

  • Establishment of the most appropriate efficient, ventilated stove to the area.

  • Starting Family gardens.

  • Training every 2 weeks for all beneficiaries of the program

  • Follow-up every 2 weeks for all the beneficiaries of the program

 

Roya Recovery

  • New promoters selected and trained

  • Farmers received training every 15 days

  • New farmers learn how to reproduce Ems and use them in their families, animals and farms (coffee, corn and beans)

  • La roya is diminished thanks to the use of Ems and the implementation of the agroecological technologies

  • Coffee practices start being implemented

  • Training every 2 weeks for all beneficiaries of the program

  • Follow-up every 2 weeks for all the beneficiaries of the program

 

Project Location and Target Supply Chain Community

 

Project Locations

 

The program is located in the communities of Sotzil, Ilom, Chel, la Perla, Sajsibán, Bisich, Xaxmoxan, La Estrella, Jua y Caquixla. All farmers work with Asociación Chajulense in the Ixil region.

The Ixil Region of Guatemala

           

The Ixil region is located in northwest Guatemala in the Cuchumatanes mountain range in the heart of El Quiché, one of the poorest departments in Guatemala.  Due to these rugged mountains and the wet, raw climate conditions, the Ixil people had been secluded from the rest of the country for many years. Even the conquistadors were reluctant to settle in this strategically located region, which allowed the Ixil people to maintain their rich, mysterious culture many years after others had assimilated. In fact, the area was so free from western influence the first outsiders did not begin to inhabit the region until the early 20th century. The altitude in the region varies from 300 and 2700 meters resulting in widely different microclimates. The terrain is rugged. The different soils are mostly suitable for forestry though a small portion is used for pasture and an even smaller area is used for agriculture. Coffee dominates agriculture production and is a major factor in the Ixil economy.
Despite the existence of natural reserves, proper management of the land is absent, causing the loss of numerous species. Many rivers are contaminated with garbage and waste discharges due to the lack of drainage and poorly educated communities.

Description of Beneficiaries

The Ixil Region

Good for Life Registered Charity Details

UK Charity Number: 1071787
UK Company Number: 3589611

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