In Guatemala, EcoLogic has recently established four plots of land that will be used to grow and cultivate Inga edulis seeds, and increase farmers’ access to the plant, which is used in agroforestry. Agroforestry is a method of agriculture that integrates trees and shrubs with crops like corn, beans, and coffee. By taking advantage of the natural benefits of trees, small-scale farmers can use agroforestry to produce more using less land, easing their burden while improving their lands.
Though tropical forests are often destroyed for agriculture, EcoLogic is helping small farmers to reap the rewards forests offer by reintroducing trees onto their lands. By integrating Inga trees into agriculture, farmers can reduce erosion, provide a source of organic fertilizer, maintain a healthy climate for crops, and increase yield thus reducing the need to clear more forests for agricultural lands.
Local farmers’ use of Inga for agroforestry is one way in which EcoLogic is working with communities to promote alternatives to the ecological destruction of slash and burn cultivation, while also increasing crop yields.
We believe that in order to save forests and water sources, we must work with communities to provide the tools and training they need to sustainably manage their natural resources. Inga is one of the tools we use and an integral part of that solution.
Our work with communities along the Sarstún River in Guatemala and Belize is to ensure the health of both the human communities and marine ecosystems. Recent strides have been made with the establishment of aquacultures. Aquacultures allow the fisherfolk to have a steady and reliable stock of bluefish to sell in the market. The project recently received a large cooler unit for storage. Since the aquaculture and cooler unit have been used, fisherfolk are reporting greater earnings when selling the fish wholesale on either side of the Sarstún River, a natural border between Belize and Guatemala.
EcoLogic is starting to plan five hands-on workshops for farmers in rural Guatemala to be held throughout the year. The workshops will focus on how to incorporate agroforestry techniques into their farmland including the integration of guama – a native tree that is planted amongst existing rows of crops. Guama enriches the soil with nutrients, provides shade to help crops retain moisture, and produces an abundance of leaves that can be used as a natural fertilizer.
EcoLogic will establish 11 tree nurseries, one per community, then help train farmers and community members on nursery management. The nurseries will primarily be used to grow guama and collect its seeds. By taking advantage of the natural benefits of guama, small-scale farmers can use agroforestry to produce larger yields while using less land. This eases their burden of production while improving their farm land.
We believe in order to save forests and water sources we must work with communities to provide the tools and training they need to sustainably manage their natural resources. Guama is one of the tools we use and is an integral part of that solution.
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