Grow Ahead teamed up with Food 4 Farmers to support three agroforestry projects with Maya Ixil Cooperative in Guatemala, SOPPEXCCA in Nicaragua and COMEPCAFE in Colombia. All three projects have begun activities from trainings, building nurseries and distributing trees amongst the families participating in the projects. We have gotten updates from all three cooperatives:
Maya Ixil Cooperative
191 have received trees, plants, and seeds to establish crops on their farms. They have received peach trees, lemon trees, orange trees, Dombeya (a flowering plants used to attract and increase bee foraging), edible crops of Chipilín (Crotalaria longirostrata), fava beans, cilantro, pumpkin, Swiss chard, basil and radish
The cooperative has built a new tree nursery dedicated for fruit and hardwood trees with the capacity for 50,000 trees. Trees grown in the nursery will be distributed at the beginning of 2022.
Maya Ixil’s food security coordinator has led a training workshop for families participating in the project on the establishment and maintenance of plant and tree species used in this program. The promoters also led 4 workshops with families on the same topic.
SOPPEXCCA has distributed Bamboo, Valencia orange trees and tahini lemon tree to participating families. Bamboo was selected for its versatility as a coffee shade tree, and harvested shoots for farm and household use. Valencia orange and Tahiti lemon were selected because they are popular in the region, increasing the opportunities for local sales to deliver supplemental income. They have also distributed two types of plants for soil improvement: Espada de San Miguel (Iris Germanica) and Canavalia bean. They will protect soil, retain water, control weeds, and fix nitrogen in the soil.
SOPPEXCCA community promoters have held training sessions with families on how to properly care for the distributed trees and in August and September, SOPPEXCCA led 4 workshops for the 230 participating families as an introduction to organic cover crops.
COMEPCAFE have focused on revitalizing traditional foods and recipes to bolster food security and preserve cultural heritage.
The trees distributed are hardwoods: Nogal Cafetero (Cordina Alliodora), Guayacán Rosado (Tabebuia rosea), Guayacan amarillo, Carboneros (Albizia carbonaria), Leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala), Aliso, Nacedero, Tetreto, Urapan and fruit trees: Cacao, Tomate de árbol (Solanum Betaceum), Guanabana (Soursop fruit or Annona Muricata), Hass Avocado, Mango, Orange (Citrus x siensis), Mandarine, Persian Lemon and Plantain.
COMEPCAFE is building 4 nurseries in 4 different communities. The nurseries are receiving seeds and seedlings collected in the forest with assistance of technical assistants and promoters from the co-op. The promoters belong to the 4 communities and are in charge of managing the nurseries.
COMEPCAFE technical coordinators and assistance have led workshops for 320 coffee farmers on natural resources health and conservation (water and soil) and best farm management.