Land & Water

Implementation of urban and peri-urban agriculture in the municipality of Ciudad Sandino and Laureles neighborhood of District VI (Managua)

This was one of the four selected projects in the framework of the cooperation agreement between the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECI) and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). These projects aimed to supply and use good quality water for Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture (UPA) in Dakar (Senegal), Luanda (Angola), Managua (Nicaragua) and Guatemala City (Guatemala).

In many countries UPA played a crucial role to ensure availability and access to high quality fresh food, created employment and generated income for the benefit of the unemployed living in and around the city. This included agricultural production with the participation of the population using different spaces and techniques within and around the city, including nutritional education in the household. The AUP required good quality water for irrigation, especially if crops are vegetables.

The objective of this project was to increase the availability of good quality water for vegetable production in urban and periurban areas in the Department of Managua, with a view to improving food and nutritional security (FNS) of the selected families and generate income by selling surplus to help them overcome poverty. The project included educational and productive aspects to be addressed through educational programs in schools in the areas of intervention.

Specifically the project developed in the area of Los Laureles Sur, in District 6, Managua City: 250 micro-gardens, 5 Demonstration and Training Centres for Production (DTC-P) for training, education and communitarian production, and 7 Demonstration and Training Centers in Schools (DTC-S) for training students on FNS and UPA. In three districts of the municipality of Ciudad Sandino, the project developed another 250 micro-gardens, 5 DTC-P and 3 DTC-S. As in these areas water resources are limited, water was supplied by rainwater harvesting from roofs, gutters driving, and storage and treatment tanks. In addition, the project began with the development of a baseline characterizing the previous socioeconomic and FNS situation of the population. At the end of the intervention another assessment was carried out to measure the impact of the project. This was done with the aim of highlighting the project results to stakeholders and provided feedback on lessons learned from UPA with a view to expand the operations of the project to other municipalities.

The expected results had a positive impact on food security and nutrition of about 9 500 people estimated to be direct beneficiaries of the project. In addition, those beneficiaries with ability to sell part of its vegetable production increased their income. Technology transfer in topics such as water infrastructure, drip irrigation and intensive production of vegetables increased the capacity of national institutions and entities involved in the project. Since the project has also a demonstrative purpose, in the future more people will benefit if the Government with the interested institutions and communities launches an expansion phase.

The budget of 999 696 USD covered the installation of the hydraulic and irrigation infrastructure, and supplied the means for horticultural production and water quality control. For two years, this covered the technical assistance to increase the capacity of national institutions and training of beneficiaries.

To ensure the project sustainability without relying on the instances originally supporting it, beneficiaries were trained from the beginning to bear the infrastructure operation and maintenance costs and the regular monitoring of the harvested rainwater quality in order to avoid health risks for them, their families and the consumers of their products, in a context of FNS safety. To this end, the necessary financial acumen will be given to the beneficiaries to ensure self-sufficiency, upon the project completion, in terms of materials purchase for subsequent production cycles, product sales, maintenance of hydraulic systems and water quality control.

The projects national counterpart was the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAG) that implemented the project through the Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA), with the participation of the Ministries of Health and Education and other institutions (universities and municipalities ) with which synergistic relationship was established.