How to Save Money: Cheaper Production and Less Work

With dynamic agroforestry, the farmers in the Patuca National Park, Honduras, got to know a new method of reforestation with which they can save money. How do saving, reforestation, and conservation come together?

Natural principles of succession and diversity

Quite easily, as dynamic agroforestry uses the natural principles of succession and diversity, expensive chemical fertilizer or pesticides are no longer necessary. The expenses for vegetable plants and tree seedlings disappear with dynamic agroforestry, as everything is being produced locally without the usual heavy physical labour.

It almost sounds too good to be true. But in 2011, Naturefund introduced this method in the Patuca National Park as a test, and the success rates speak for themselves. After 18 months, all the areas where dynamic agroforestry was introduced are densely covered in growth again, and the people obtain more food from this land than they ever have before.

Lázaro and Digna Sauceda tell their story

Lázaro Sauceda lives with his family in the village of Las Milpas, which is located in the middle of the national park. He organised himself together with other farmers in a cooperative (APROCAMIL) in order to collectively sell their products better.

Lázaro says: "Before I started using dynamic agroforestry, my wife Digna had to go to the market at least once a month in order to earn about 75 US$ just to feed the family. Very often she didn't manage this, and therefore the family meals were very unbalanced."

Now we can find everything on our finca

Digna explains further: "My family consists of five people. We supply ourselves with milk as we have several cows. But sometimes I had to go to the village which is located about one hour from here by boat. Sometimes when I arrived there were unpleasant surprises, essential things that I needed, such as cooking bananas or yucca wouldn't be there." Digna, like many other mothers from Las Milpas, could often only cook unbalanced meals for her family. Since her and her husband Lázaro have introduced dynamic agroforestry to their finca, the situation has changed completely. "Today it is often the case that the five of us go to the fields and have very little to do. Those days where a great deal of physical effort was needed, hardly occur any more. At the same time we have much more to eat than we have ever had before. Now we can find everything on our finca, also bananas and yucca. Now it happens more often that we give away parts of our harvest to other families who are only growing cocoa without the dynamic agroforestry method. Seriously, working at the finca has become wonderful." Thus ends Digna her story.

In Las Milpas, more and more families are converting to the dynamic agroforestry method, as they can see by using it they can save money, and at the same time the labour that was previously required, such as weeding or fighting against plant diseases, is significantly reduced.

Dynamic agroforestry is a method that also allows the family to spend more time with each other. Almost unnoticed a whole new approach to nature develops that reminds people a bygone age where the harmony between humans and nature was the basis for feeding the family.

Images of the Patuca National Park (in German)

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