| Food first: The Campesino a Campeslno movement: Farmer-Led, Sustainable Agriculture in Central America and Mexico |
1 Dr.Jorge Bolanos, Center for Research on the Improvement of Corn and Wheat, CIMMYT, Mexico. Presentation to PCCMA on "Generation and Transfer", Managua, Nicaragua, 1992.
2 Dr.David Kaimowitz, IICA-Interamerican Institute of Central American Research, San Jose, Costa Rica. Presentation to FUNDESCA-EC, Program for the Agricultural Frontier, Panama, May, 1994.
3 Prior to this time, the Green Revolution "took care" of agricultural development while rural development programs "helped the poor." Problems arose when rural development programs could no longer attend to the poor as fast as the Green Revolution could produce them.
4 Even the concept of sustainability is onerous. Some project extensionists maintain that "sustainability" means that the project rather than agriculture itself, will continue on for generations.
5 Bunch, Roland and Lopez, Gabino, "Soil Recuperation in Central America: Measuring the Impact Three to Forty Years after Intervention," paper presented at the International Institute for Environment and Development's International Policy Workshop in Bangalore, India, November-December 1994.
6 Bunch, Roland, Two Ears of Corn, A guide to People-Centered Agricultural improvement, Oklahoma City: World Neighbors, 1982.
7 Authors interviews with Guatemalan "promotores" from Chimaltenango, 1987, Mexico 1994 & 1995, Honduras. Names of promotores withheld upon request.
8 Lopez, Gabino V., "The Village Extensionist in Developing Nations," paper presented at the International Workshop on Farmer-led Approaches to Agricultural Extension, July 17-22 1995, IIRR, ODI, World Neighbors, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.
9 Bunch, Roland, "An Odyssey of Discovery: Principles of Agriculture for the Humid Tropics," COSECHA, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 1995.
10 Author's interview, Gabriel Sanchez, Teodoro Juarez, Rogelio Sanchez and Emiliano Juarez, Vicente Guerrero, Mexico, 1994
11 Author's interview with Rogelio Sanchez. Vicente Guerrero, 1995.
12 This was primarily due to the fact that the Sandinista Revolution was not especially interested in sustainable agriculture. During the first years of the Revolution, UNAG's Sandinista-affiliated cooperatives were flooded with free credit, agrochemicals and Belarus tractors. Referring to sustainable agriculture, Minister of Agriculture, Jaime Wheelock stated flatly, "We are a poor country. Unlike the North Americans, we do not have the luxury of programming (our) underdevelopment." (Author's interview, Managua, Nicaragua. 1988.)
13 On their second visit to Nicaragua, the Mexican team arrived at the Managua airport for a three-week visit, apparently with only carry-on bags. Smiling, they pointed to the conveyer belt as it tumbled their "luggage" into the baggage claim area: each had brought their own moldboard plow to Nicaragua. Horse. rather than oxen-drawn, the Mexican plow became a regular feature in Campesino a Campesino workshops and permitted the incorporation of organic matter with animal traction. (The traditional Nicaraguan, oxen-drawn "Egyptian" plow lifts but does not turn the soil.)
14 International assistance also had to regroup. For years progressive and social democratic parties from Europe had convinced their parliaments to support state-run aid programs in Nicaragua because of popular support (both abroad and within Nicaragua) for the Sandinista Revolution. Concrete results from this foreign aid was rarely a requisite for funding or renewed support. The war, inexperience and respect for client internal policies and processes were often cited as reasons to fund projects which continually fell short of their goals and objectives. Projects became economic ends in themselves instead of means for kick-starting a development process. It is no secret that many foreign NGOs used aid as a non-offical means of opposing U.S. policy towards Nicaragua, and that the Nicaraguan government and the mass organizations (UNAG included) owed their financial existence to foreign aid. But the Sandinista loss of elections implied loss of support and signified loss of state power. The effectiveness of foreign aid through Sandinista organizations was seriously questioned abroad. NGOs who had previously channeled aid to them from their respective parliaments were prevailed upon by their home opposition to justify their program activities in the face of what was viewed as a political debacle.
15 A program review, conducted in 1994, documented this spectacular growth from presence in just two municipalities in 1987, to twenty-one in 1991 and thirty-nine in 1993. By 1995, Campesino a Campesino was present (often in several towns at once) in all of Nicaragua's departments and of its 67 municipalities. (See Merlet, M., "Consolidacion y Ampliacion del Programa Campesino a Campesino," Informe de la Primera Mision de Seguimiento, Noviembre, 1993).
16 The source of information for this section is based on the institution's project evaluation which in the interest of profesional courtesy will remain anonymous.
17 Indeed, open communication among campesinos may well turn out to be the most revolutionary aspect of the Nicaraguan Revolution.
18 The rechannelling of foreign agricultural aid, was due in the Nicaraguan case to the abrupt change in government. In the case of the other Central American countries, it was due to the implementation of neoliberal adjustment policies which resulted in cutting back the state ministries altogether.
19 Lopez, Gabino, "The Villager Extensionist In Developing Nations." paper presented at the International Workshop on Farmer-Led Approaches to Agricultural Extension. July, 1995 IIRR, ODI, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.
20 An old formula that appears to work well, given a good general process: promotores receive twice the going daily wage for farm labor when they work away from their farms. this allows them to pay someone to work the farm that day, and it recognizes their own promotional work.
21 Lopez, Gabino, "The Village Extensionist in Developing Nations," paper presented at the International Workshop on Farmer-led Approaches to Agricultural Extension, July, 1995, IIRR,ODI, Silang, Cavite, Philippines.