Food Security & Sovereignty in Las Segovias, Nicaragua

The Food Security and Sovereignty in Las Segovias Project is a collaboration between CAN and our partner organization PRODECOOP, RL, a coffee farmer cooperative organization in Northern Nicaragua. The project, launched in 2009, aims to improve food security and reduce seasonal hunger among 1500 smallholder coffee farming families in Northern Nicaragua. This will be achieved through the following strategies: improved food availability, access, and food utilization through CADAs, seed banks, farm diversification and experimentation, and organizational capacity building.

IMPACTS AND RESEARCH FINDINGS

  • 1420 families have improved access to food during the thin months.
  • Thin months have been reduced from an average of 3 months to 2 months since 2010.
  • Chronic malnutrition has been reduced from 43.2% of children under 5 to 25%.

LESSONS LEARNED AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS

The strategies implemented by the project are improved food availability, access, and food utilization through CADAs, seed banks, farm diversification and experimentation, and organizational capacity building. Nevertheless elimination of the thin months will require more continuous effort, and reaching every single family, their cooperatives and communities will take more time and adjustments, especially with the impact of la roya and anthracnose that has affected 100% of coffee farming families at different levels of severity. The crisis has deepened in 2013-2014 but the project activities are moving toward a positive direction. Family farmers have been open to the application of agroecological methods to the mitigation of risk associated with climate change. There is a need to promote strategies for the preservation of local and heirloom varieties, especially in light of climate change adaptation and communities’ ability to have food security in the midst of it. The negative impact of lack of water access, and climate change, on food and agricultural systems, is a topic that is impossible to avoid. In July 2013, the research team started a process of collective reflection in order to redefine the ways to successfully resist in the future climate change negative impacts and to improve food security through the construction of resilient food and agricultural systems.

Outcomes

Six local CADAs and one Central CADA have been established and are used to distribute corn through a food loan strategy to mitigate hunger during the thin months.

Seven seedbanks are operating and helping seed production, especially corn and beans, mitigating the impacts of harvest loss and responding to the farmers’ seed demand with efficiency and availability of quality seed. Seed banks are a key element of the strategies to guarantee quality heirloom seed at all times, since we are convinced that the foundation of food security lies in the constant maintenance of the supply of high-quality seed that in turn ensures the continuous availability of food and access to it among the families involved at the base cooperative level.