Honduran producer families implement practices that protect the land

April 2021

Blog

More than 800 producer families in the dry corridor of Honduras are changing their production practices to resilient food production practices with the support of the EUROCLIMA + Project run by SNV and ASOMAINCUPACO.

Honduras, April 20 - The producer of coffee and basic grains, Dogna Hernández Lazo, 60, is in the midst of applying lime (calcium hydroxide) to the soil as part of the land preparation practices in her production unit.

'Soil liming is a resilient production practice, which helps to regulate pH, soil structure and improves the effectiveness of some fertilizers, increasing quality yields in crops,' says Engineer Elio Nicolas Mejía, Agriculture Project Climate Smart Family (AFCIPRA) technician.

'Before, here we used to do things differently. We used to hedge (clean the land of weeds and grasses with the machete), we did agricultural burns, we did not run aground, now thanks to the project we are doing things differently in the face of climate change and protecting our land,' says the micro producer Dogna.

The AFICPRA Project is delivering lime (calcium hydroxide) to the more than 800 producers supported by the project to apply in their production units. Elio points out that liming is a process prior to cultivation preparation. It is implemented in the dry season, hoping that with the first rains the lime begins to react, so when the crop begins to be planted and all the elements that the soil had tied up will begin to release.

According to FAO data, the agricultural activities that most generate Greenhouse Gases (GHG) that contribute to climate change are: preparing the land for cultivation, the use of synthetic fertilizers, agricultural burning, planting, maintenance, the harvest and the transport of the product.

GHG emissions from the Agricultural and Forestry sector (AFOLU) represent 24% of total emissions, therefore, it is the sector with the most emissions after energy (35%).

AFCIPRA Project provides technical assistance, training and inputs (fertilizers, seeds and lime) to producers for the adoption of mitigation measures to climate change in agriculture for the reduction and absorption of Greenhouse Gases, which contributes to the mitigation goal of the NDC of Honduras, in which a 15% reduction in emissions is expected with respect to the BAU scenario by 2030 (this commitment is conditional on the support being favorable, predictable and the financing mechanisms climate).

Dogna says she is very proud because she now does things differently in her coffee and corn fields called El Esfuerzo 1 and El Esfuerzo 2, respectively. 'Now we do minimum tillage with what we protect the soil, we no longer burn, the incorporation of lime, the planting density, pest management, and we use resistant to pests and drought varieties,' she adds.

In preparing the land, the producer families supported by the project, now apply little or no tillage, which reduces GHG emissions from soil alteration, and the use of fossil fuels in agricultural activity.

The producer points out that now they leave the stubble to maintain moisture in the soil, the use of living barriers on the farm, before weed control was done with a hoe and now they make veneer to protect the soil from erosion.

Likewise, Dogna is applying organic fertilizers to its coffee and basic grain plots using the farm's resources and sometimes buys the compost. 'We make them with coffee pulp, mountain stubble, or bird manure, and we apply the organic matter in the furrows where it will be planted,' she says.

The producer indicates that with the naked eye, improvement is seen in a plant where there is organic matter and where there is no fertilization.

Best practices increase productivity

The producer is happy because in addition to strengthening her knowledge to face climate change, she has had better crop yields with good agricultural practices implementation.

'In the recent harvest, there was better coffee production than last year. Last year I took out 70 quintals of grapes from 1.68 acres and in this harvest, I took out 97 quintals of coffee, thanks to the farm renovation, pruning, soil regulation, organic materials incorporation and the management that I did with the project´s support,' says Dogna.

In the case of corn, they still expected a good production, with a 20% of productive increase, but the effects of a mini tornado and storms Eta and Iota that affected Central America caused the corn and bean harvest to be lost.

According to the engineer Elio, the project projects in this new agricultural cycle an increase in productive performance of up to 25% since the practices are being carried out in a timely manner. The producers are busy preparing the soil that includes: weeding out, weed cutting, zero tillage, stubble conservation on the plot, and liming. Elio highlighted that the project sensitizes the producer family that by taking care of the soil resource, they will have food, productivity is improved, and the agricultural frontier is cut.

According to Douglas Benavidez, project coordinator, the action in addition to good agricultural practices to increase productivity, is promoting activities to improve the access of micro producers to more stable and long-term markets, which will contribute to the increase in productivity, it also leads to an increase in income.

Dogna continues to work hard in her agricultural work and reiterates that she is now better prepared in the face of climate change. 'With this project, I feel good because we know that there is someone who cares that we learn, it is the only way that as farmers, we learn to grow what we are going to eat, especially in this dry area', she added.

The producer reiterated that the knowledge is left to them and they can share it. 'One never stops learning and it is very important for us that as women, we learn to be prepared in the face of climate change, in order to survive and protect our land."

About AFCIPRA

AFCIPRA promotes the resilient production of food, in 600 families, of indigenous Lenca communities, and mestizo population, under a sustainable management approach of the water resources of the El Venado and Chiflador - Guaralape basins in Honduras.

It is implemented by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) and the Association for the Integrated Management of Watersheds of La Paz and Comayagua, Honduras (ASOMAINCUPACO). Its strategic partner is the Centro Universitario Regional del Centro (CURC-UNAH) and as political counterparts the Presidential Office of Climate Change of Honduras (Clima +) and the Ministry of Environment of Guatemala.

For more information, please contact Judit Vanegas, AFCIPRA Communication Specialist at jvanegas@snv.org.

Expert

Judit Vanegas Ferrey

Advisor - Communications


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