The Municipality of Mulukuku has a population of 51,202 of which 78% depend on agricultural activity and there is a high rate of poverty (80%) in the population, according to statistics from INIDE, CENAGRO and the Mayor’s Office.
The poverty situation is not compatible with the fact that the territory of the municipality is one of the most productive in the country, with more than 50% of the families owning land and cattle and a large number, much more than the national average, owning farms of more than 7 ha.
The main cause of this unsustainable poverty situation is the lack of capacity of small and medium producers to influence the chain of manufacturing and marketing of the main agricultural products of the municipality. There is no local or regional agroindustry and the companies present in the capital, Managua, form a group with oligopsony power that pays the worst prices to producers, against the rules of a competitive market.
This situation does not allow investment in the improvement of farms or the creation of capital reserves for emergencies, and the effect of climate change in the form of drought in the last five years has worsened the vulnerability of the inhabitants of the municipality.
As a result of the lack of investment in sustainable production, producers continue to use the extensive livestock farming model that destroys forests. Deforestation is also an effect of the migration of producers from areas that were once wet or also due to the effects of climate change, suffering now of long periods of droughts. In the last 10 years, according to data from the Municipal Development Scheme and Land Management Plan (PDOTM, in Spanish), the population increased by 112% and the cattle population by 130%, while forests were reduced by 80%, which also affects the water supply for human consumption.
The project tried to intervene in the problem of strengthening the social capital of the producers, connected with the specific objective of expanding the effort that the Mayor’s Office had begun on Sustainable Agroindustry for Sustainable Production, by adopting productive techniques that could open the possibility for eco-friendly certifications, adding value to production.
The project was a cooperation between Central American Higher University Council (CSUCA, in Spanish) in the context of the project PRIDCA for Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation and UNAN-Managua (National Autonomous University of Nicaragua), the Faculty of Matagalpa. Funding was provided by COSUDE and the project lasted 2 years from 2014-2016 and ended in the middle of 2016.
The project carried out its activities in close cooperation with local and regional actors, and from the central government. The Mayor’s Office, the women’s cooperative “María Luisa Ortiz” with 25 years of presence in the territory, the Network of Producers of the Municipality, neighbouring Mayor’s Offices such as Paiwas and Rio Blanco, and the Mayor’s Office of the indigenous population Prinzapolka were involved in the project, as well as the Government of the Autonomous Region and the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Education of the Central Government. Meetings were held with the embassies of El Salvador and Uruguay in an effort to coordinate actions for a Sustainable Agroindustry.
- Training workshops with 383 people (almost half of them women) involved in agricultural production, on production techniques and in the need for an eco-friendly certified agroindustry to reduce territorial vulnerability and face the effects of climate change.
- Organising a meeting with 1,500 producers and the participation of regional and central government representatives, mayors and the media, to present the Sustainable Agroindustry for Sustainable Production project.
- Meetings in the municipalities of Paiwas and Prinzapolka with the municipal councils and producers, to consolidate the intention of alliance around the Sustainable Agroindustry project and reduce the vulnerability of the territories to climate change.
- Implementation of practical training in reforestation of water sources and the delivery of 5,000 trees to producers, with the assistance of the Mayor’s Office and youth organisations of the Municipality.
- Training with 98 people, including students of the program University in the field, young people and officials of institutions on Sustainable Production and Agroindustry, and in the need for Partnerships.
- Meeting with the Ambassador of Uruguay, who was working with the government on a traceability project to improve livestock production and holding a meeting with the Ambassador of El Salvador and the Minister Counsellor on the creation of an alliance around the Sustainable Agroindustry project.