Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Climate-hit Salvadoran farmers return to indigenous agriculture

Nelson Renteria in Thomson Reuters Foundation: In this small town, deep in the hills of El Salvador, farmers have become increasingly worried over the last five years as they see their crops of corn, beans and vegetables affected by heavy storms, droughts and hot spells.

To ease the problem, they are going back to school, to learn how to use indigenous agriculture to protect their livelihoods from climate change. Pablo Perez, a 45-year-old farmer in Ishuatan, a small town 50 km (30 miles) west of San Salvador, said new kinds of fungus and pests in his crop are just one of his worries as the weather shifts.

 “We are seeing that the effects of climate change are stronger, not only with drought, but pests are proliferating too,” he said.

Maria de los Angeles, a farmer and mother of three, belongs to a women’s farming cooperative in Ishuatan that has adopted traditional approaches to farming, including the use of native seeds and organic fertiliser. These are promoted by the Salvadoran Ecological Unit (UNES), a non-governmental organisation that has opened schools to teach indigenous agriculture in the west of the country.

De los Angeles explained that traditional farming practices are more economical and healthy, even though the yields are not large....

A sorghum field in El Salvador, shot by Ll1324, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

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