Plantain producers improve the production process

Honduras, 2 August 2021 - With the support of the Climate-Smart Family Farming Project (AFCIPRA), as part of EUROCLIMA+ actions, some 55 plantain-producing families have improved the productive processes of the crop, on-farm diversification and the climate resilience of the families and their livelihoods.

Since February 2020, things have changed for farmer Carlos Dagoberto Melgar Reyes and his family in the community of Agua Blanca, La Paz, Honduras. He and 54 other families have received plantain and vegetable seeds, fertilisers, technical assistance and ongoing training in crop management from the AFCIPRA project.

Margar went from having 40 plantain plants to 400 with the seed provided by the project, which allowed him to expand his crop and combine it with coffee and basic grains, as well as improve the family's income. He markets the plantain in bunches and his wife María Antonia Velázquez processes part of it into fried slices, which are in great demand.

"The project has helped us a lot with technical assistance and new practices. Before, we were working with plantain, but we were working it badly," emphasises Melgar.

The farmer recalls that it used to be complicated to plant plantain because this would remove 100% of the land, even if it was a hillside, and some farmers would even burn it. "Now with the project they have made us understand that in the area where there is cover the plants are green, the humidity is preserved, and where there is no cover the plants are drying out," adds Melgar..

    Carlos Dagoberto Melgar                                                            

The best practices with the project have made things easier and have improved productivity. Melgar points out that the plant cover that remains after harvesting the plantain, the technicians advise them to leave it in the middle of the furrows to prevent weeds, this helps maintain humidity and improves the soil.

The AFCIPRA Climate Change Project specialist, Eng. Ileana Osorio, said that they have strengthened the capacities of producers with training on: control of pests such as the weevil and diseases such as sigatoka, they have been trained on the preparation of broths for managing sigatoka, in the establishment of the crop with planting density management, fertilisation, and other topics.

Melgar indicates that they are now carrying out mixed fertilisation, both organic and chemical, on plants that are lagging behind in growth. "Although we now have the knowledge of how to prepare organic fertiliser from all the things that degrade, due to a lack of manpower we are not yet producing it, but we have the knowledge," he emphasises.

 

capacitacion Platano 2                                                           

                                                                

"Now with organic practices on the farm there is no more waste, e.g. cattle manure was a waste, a nuisance, now it is a benefit and we have the opportunity to produce better than before," says the farmer.

Melgar is very proud to point out that with the support of the AFCIPRA Project, he has been improving his production systems. "From the plantain that I harvested four months ago, I now have plants that will produce in a month and I don't have to wait a year as I did before", he adds.

He points out that he was previously unaware that the plantain needs to be arranged (managed) such as placing the bag on the banana bunch. "The project gave us the bag and explained how to put it on, why, and in what way".

The producer leader recalls that at the beginning when he started working with plantain, they totally eliminated the plants or the previous harvest, which was a huge expense. Now, he says, they have learned that if they maintain the seeds or the plantain suckers they have already removed with organic material, they will have a bunch just like the previous one, just by giving them the same management, "which is more profitable and environmentally friendly," he adds.

The producers are now giving away plantain seeds to other producers interested in cultivation. Melgar indicates that many producers are encouraged to continue harvesting plantain because, despite the fact that the border with El Salvador is closed, they have had good experience with cultivation and marketing, and that once the border is open, it will surely be very profitable. They made the investment and made a profit, he adds.

Applying the new knowledge Melgar now has a 19 March planting and another one a month old which is starting to sprout its first leaves..

The whole Melgar family is involved in the plantain business, his wife, a niece, and his mother, one processing fried plantains, others helping with the management of the irrigation system, cutting the damaged plantain leaves, and other activities as they have seen the benefit for the family.

About AFCIPRA 

AFCIPRA 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 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

Editor: Judit Vanegas, Communication Specialist AFCIPRA This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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