Honduran farming families implement practices that protect the land

The Climate-Smart Family Farming project of the Resilient Food Production sector of the EUROCLIMA+ programme, implemented by SNV and ASOMAINCUPACO, supports more than 800 producer families in the dry corridor of Honduras who are changing their production practices and are now implementing resilient food production practices.

Honduras, April 20, 2021 - The 60-year-old coffee and basic grains producer, Dogna Hernández Lazo, is in the midst of applying lime (calcium hydroxide) to the soil as part of the resilient food production practices she implements in her production unit.

"Soil liming helps regulate pH, soil structure and improves the effectiveness of some fertilisers, increasing quality crop yields" says Engineer Elio Nicolas Mejia, technician of the Climate-Smart Family Farming Project (AFCIPRA).

"Before, we used to do things differently here: we used to clear the land of weeds and grass with a machete, we used to burn the land, we didn't apply lime, now thanks to the project we are doing things differently in facing climate change and protecting our land," said the small farmer 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 crop preparation. It is implemented in the dry season, in the hope that with the first rains the lime will begin to react, so that when the crop is planted, all the elements that were tied up in the soil will begin to be released.

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

GHG emissions from the Agriculture and Forestry sector (AFOLU) account for 24% of total emissions, making it the sector with the highest emissions after energy (35%).

The AFCIPRA Project provides technical assistance, training and inputs (fertilisers, seeds and lime) to producers for the adoption of climate change mitigation measures in agriculture for the reduction and absorption of Greenhouse Gases, which contributes to the mitigation target of the Honduran NDC, where a 15% reduction in emissions is expected with respect to the BAU scenario by 2030 (this commitment is conditional on favourable and predictable support and the viability of climate finance mechanisms).

Dogna says she is very proud that she now does things differently on her plots called El Esfuerzo 1 and El Esfuerzo 2, for coffee and maize respectively. "Now we do minimum tillage to protect the soil, no more burning, lime incorporation, planting density, pest management, and we use pest- and drought-resistant varieties," she adds.

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

The producer highlights that they now leave stubble to keep the soil moist, they use living barriers on the farm, and for weed control that was previously done with hoes they now use ploughing to protect the soil from erosion.

Dogna is also applying organic fertilisers on her coffee and staple grain plots using the farm's resources and she sometimes buys fertiliser. "We make it with coffee pulp, mountain stubble, or poultry manure, and we apply the organic matter in the furrows that will be planted," she says.

The producer also indicated that at first glance you can see improvement in a plant where there is organic matter and where there is no fertilisation. 

Best practices increase productivity

The farmer is happy because in addition to strengthening her knowledge to cope with climate change, she has had better crop yields with the implementation of best agricultural practices. 

"In the last harvest there was better coffee production than last year. Last year I got 70 quintals of grapes from one block and this year I got 97 quintals of coffee, thanks to the renovation of the farm, pruning, soil regulation, the incorporation of organic matter and the management I did with the support of the project," says Dogna. 

In the case of maize, they also expected good production, with a 20% increase in production, but the effects of a mini tornado and the Eta and Iota storms that affected Central America meant that the maize and bean crops were lost.

According to engineer Elio, the project projects an increase in yields of up to 25% in this new agricultural cycle since the practices are being carried out in a timely manner. The producers are working hard on soil preparation, which includes clearing, weeding, zero tillage, stubble conservation in the plot, and liming. Elio emphasised that the project makes the producer family aware that by taking care of the soil resource they will have food, improve productivity, and cut the advancement of the agricultural frontier.

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According to Douglas Benavidez, coordinator of the project, the action in addition to best agricultural practices to increase productivity is promoting activities to improve small producers' access to more stable and long-term markets, which will contribute to increased productivity leading to increased income.

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

The producer reiterated that the knowledge remains with them and they can share it. "One never stops learning and it is very important for us as women to learn to be prepared for climate change, to be able to survive and protect our land. 

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About AFCIPRA 

AFCIPRA is a project of the Resilient Food Production sector of the EUROCLIMA+ Programme that promotes resilient food production in 600 families of indigenous Lenca communities and the mestizo population under a sustainable water resource management approach in the El Venado and Chiflador - Guaralape watersheds in Honduras. 

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

More information

Judit Vanegas, Communication Specialist AFCIPRA

Beatriz Juanes, Jules Bismuth – Technical Assistance communication, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                   

Source of the photos: AFCIPRA Project     

                   

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