Liberation’s shareholder farmers in Nicaragua are a highly organised and enterprising bunch. Similar to our cashew farmers in Kerala they are especially passionate about organic farming, recognising and strengthening women’s roles in farming and income generation and learning to live with increasingly obvious changes to their climate.
The Del Campo farmers grow a large proportion of their own food these days, including beans, nuts, maize and sesame seeds, plus raising small numbers of animals on their farms. Like the Kerala farmers, due to their climate they have to buy rice, but increasingly are turning back to traditional forms of carbohydrate, such as corn or maize.
Some of Del Campo’s farmers are already Organic certified and we are hoping they will have enough Fairtrade Organic peanuts for Liberation to be able to start selling them in the next year or two. Del Campo have a special ‘test field’ to help farmers to learn about and adapt to organic farming methods.
Del Campo farmers report that they are witnessing their climate changing year by year. One farmer told us ‘the rainy season is different now, more irregular, less predictable. The dry season is much longer and drought is affecting farmers. It’s difficult for us to know when to sow the seeds.’
Fairtrade premium funded technical support is crucial to support and advise farmers how to manage this increasing unpredictability. The Del Campo farmers firmly believe that good practise in Organic agriculture will be more sustainable in long term to understand and protect their land.
The farmers are also keen to diversify the products they they grow and to add value for example by making their own peanut butter, producing and bottling sesame oil and even making (delicious!) wine from local wild grapes.