Fighting food insecurity
According to the United Nations Development Programme, 80% of Nicaragua’s population lives on less than 2 dollars per day. After Haiti, Nicaragua has the highest poverty rates in Latin America. The poverty is primarily concentrated in rural areas, and it leads to high levels of food insecurity.
One major challenge for AVSF is to focus its work on the structural causes of poverty, a condition that particularly affects smallholder farming. Tackling the structural causes of poverty means guaranteeing access to water and land for smallholder and Indian families, providing them access to factors of production (equipment, funding, technical assistance), integrating them into markets for crop and livestock farming products that are more fair, and working to reduce cultural exclusion.
Environmental degradation and the consequences of climate change (droughts and hurricanes) also weigh heavily on Nicaraguan smallholders and affect in particular women and young people, the most vulnerable groups.
Micro-irrigation, agro-ecology, and diversification: ways of combatting climate change
AVSF began working in Nicaragua at the conclusion of the armed conflicts of the 1980s and assisted in the creation of local systems, managed by the smallholder families themselves, for supplying veterinary medicine in order to facilitate the provision of medical care to animals. In addition to supporting livestock farming, a long-standing axis of the association’s cooperative efforts, AVSF currently works to help strengthen the capacities of smallholder and Indian organizations to defend their land, manage natural resources in a more concerted and sustainable manner, and adapt their crop or livestock farming systems to the already-visible effects of climate change.
Thanks to the creation of innovative micro-irrigation systems (adapted to vulnerable smallholder families) and agricultural diversification by implementing agro-ecological practices, more than 2,000 smallholder families were able to improve their food security and sovereignty. AVSF is also working to strengthen three cooperatives of small-scale cocoa producers in the El Rama region. As a result, more than 200 male and female smallholders are steadily improving their agro-forestry plantations and obtaining better remuneration on high-quality and fair trade cocoa markets.
Thanks to the proven references on these cooperation projects, AVSF assists its partners (smallholder organizations, NGOs, training centers) and contributes in an innovative way to the creation of local and national strategies for food security that are adapted to the changing climate conditions in Nicaragua.