Many of the Indian families from the towns of Chisec and Raxruha have moved away over the past 30 years, mainly due to armed conflict in the region. They have little financial means and lack access to both credit and technical assistance, and as a result, they have a hard time making efficient use of their farmland. Under pressure from large groups and landowners, more and more of these families have no choice but to sell their land as they search for alternative sources of revenue.
It is within this context that AVSF is working alongside the local NGO APROBA-SANK to defend the lands of these Indian communities by promoting and creating value on the local market for a smallholder farming system that produces a wide variety of high-quality products. Doing so helps to consolidate Indian and smallholder land over the medium term by promoting the collective rights of these communities to have access to and manage their lands.
The following activities have been put into action to help the Indian population defend its rights and regain its identity:
AVSF laid the groundwork for smallholder-to-smallholder exchanges, organized a competition to promote the diversification of crop production, and has supported development and the creation of smallholder markets. By strengthening those organizations within the FAMA Q’EQCHI federation that offer their members financial services, AVSF is helping to promote a diversified smallholder farming system that is able to generate income for smallholder families.
Moreover, AVSF is striving to help these communities manage their lands in a sustainable way by creating community land registries, improving communal structures for natural-resource management, and organizing advocacy activities to push governmental bodies to officially recognize the Indian communities.