December 19, 2017

Cultivating incomes in the Awajún

Despite facing systematic discrimination, lack of help from governments and encroaching pressures on the forest, Cool Earth’s Awajún partners continue to find creative and resourceful ways to keep trees standing.

With the AMARNO artisan group, cacao cultivation and fish farms successfully underway, the Awajún partnership has had another bright income generating idea. Growing and harvesting rice.

Keeping it sustainable

Rice has a double benefit – it can be sold at the market as well as providing food for the community.

Gentle slopes and fertile soil make the Awajún partnership an ideal location for rice cultivation. It takes just four months to grow the rice before it can be harvested and three harvest seasons a year mean families have a regular food supply and source of income from traders at Urakuza’s markets.

After processing, there is around 20kg of waste chaff. Chaff can be applied to cacao gardens, where it helps to stop weeds from growing, allowing cacao plants to access more nutrients. Although indigestible to humans, chaff is also used to feed the fish and poultry and to mix into adobe brick for houses.

Cultivating incomes in the Awajún
“If Cool Earth didn’t work with us, we wouldn’t be able to have a rice machine, thank you Cool Earth”

Using community pot funding from Jempe Community Association, the Huaracayo community formed a rice committee and bought a new rice threshing machine. This machine extracts the grain from the seed cases (the chaff), so it is ready to be cooked. So far, Huaracayo have planted 64 acres of rice with 25 acres left to be planted.

We caught up with the rice producers in Huaracayo to find out how their new processor works.

They have already sold 2.8 tonnes of rice for S/6,160 (approx. £1400). All profits go back to the 43 rice growers from Huaracayo and Katish.

Initiatives such as this are vital to our partnership communities. Trees are kept standing as economic pressure from logging companies is reduced as market trade rises, and communities get a sustainable food income.

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