Some 65 families on Isla Venado have an alternative for production and self-consumption, thanks to a community agriculture initiative promoted since June by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), with the support of the Lepanto District Municipal Council and private businesses.
The beneficiary families are part of the Cooperativa de Autogestión de Servicios de Acuicultura, Pesca y Turismo R. L. (COOPECUICULTORES R.L.), although in the medium term the objective is to involve the 300 families that live on the island.
The first stage of the project began in June – in the midst of the pandemic – with the construction of five productive modules for the cultivation of vegetables, cucurbits (squash, melon and watermelon), cassava, banana and papaya, which are attended mostly by women.
The seed was donated by the company Eurosemillas and the inputs and fertilizers were provided by Coopeforjadores R.L., an organization from Paquera that, with the support of the National Institute for Innovation and Technology Transfer (INTA), developed three demonstration plots. In addition, families receive technical assistance.
The production of these modules is distributed among the families for their own consumption. The rest is to supply the tourist demand for these fruit and vegetable products, which will increase when the restrictions imposed by the pandemic pass.
As a complementary phase, on August 5, a donation of 300 chicks was delivered by the Roble Alto Farm, thanks to a MAG management, through the National Chamber of Poultry Farmers (CANAVI). With this, it is sought that the inhabitants of Venado Island can count on eggs and meat to strengthen the consumption of protein in their diet.
The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Renato Alvarado, explained that it is expected in the short term that, once the results of this pilot project have been verified, expand the impact of the community agriculture project to other families on the island and replicate it in other coastal territories of the Pacific, like Caballo Island.
For her part, Jeaneth Rodríguez Villegas, one of the women who works in the horticultural modules, indicated that her objective is to produce fresh, safe food of excellent quality for self-consumption and to meet the demand for food in the Island.
“This project consists of sowing, cultivating, for self consumption, first, and then, if we can, sell for the expenses we have. It is a joy, a pride for us, to know that the majority of the island’s neighbors consume what we produce. Thanks to the Ministry of Agriculture and Coopeforjadores who supported to train us on how to care for plants,”he said.Rodríguez urged all the peoples of the Peninsula, “where we have land to cultivate, that we do it, that we sow for our families.”
Through the cooperative, on the island they are also developing a mariculture project for shrimp farming, with the support of the Ministry of Labor, the Pacific Marine Park and Incopesca, as an innovative and sustainable way to bring families forward of the island.