March 25 – April 4, 2012
Co-sponsored by Nicaragua Center for Community Action (NICCA) & Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy
Since 1989 NICCA has enthusiastically supported Programa Campesino a Campesino (PCaC), a project of Nicaragua’s National Union of Farmers and Ranchers (UNAG). PCaC is a part of the world-wide Via Campesino movement, which with its various national movements, like PCaC, is a comprehensive attempt to further agricultural sustainability and greater bio-diversity by giving technical help to small-scale agriculturalists who learn and then teach others. Nicaragua’s PCaC has had many emphases, including organic agriculture; soil conservation; crop diversification, even on small plots of land; the use of natural fertilizers and insecticides that can be produced at home; discouragement of field burning; and, importantly, the empowerment of campesina women through encouragement of kitchen gardens and animal husbandry for auto-consumption and cash crops. The program has been extremely successful for those who have the vision and energy to implement it. In Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the hemisphere, it has helped eliminate hunger in many communities where hunger was an almost expected part of the seasonal round.
Through this delegation, NICCA hopes to share our enthusiasm for this wonderful and inspirational program. We believe that people in the global South have much to teach those of us in the North, especially as we face increasing environmental strains and food insecurity.
The delegation will meet leaders of UNAG to discuss its national programs and MAGFOR, the national agriculture and forestry ministry, to find out about Nicaragua’s Zero Hunger program, which has significantly reduced hunger since 2006. Most emphasis and community visits will, however, be in the beautiful Matagalpa region, where NICCA’s solidarity partner, UNAG-Matagalpa, has been working for many years. We will visit NICCA-funded projects in a number of small communities in the countryside. We will meet the women, men, and youth who in humble circumstances dedicate their life to helping the future of their children. Our visits will include small diversified farms and places where the PCaC is just beginning. The delegation will also visit coffee farms and processing plants, and community environmental tourism initiatives. We will see and discuss sustainable agriculture techniques, local seed banks, environmental threats, and problems of agricultural commercialization. Community members will share meals and entertainment with the delegation.
Contact for application and questions:
P.O. Box 1004
Berkeley, CA 94701
Diana (510) 525-5497 or Suzanne (510) 654-8635