In Guatemala, Money Grows with Trees

EcoLogic helps farmers like Joaquín Pedro Joaquín earn money for planting trees

EcoLogic helps farmers like Joaquín Pedro Joaquín earn money for planting trees

Joaquín Pedro Joaquín is a small-holder farmer in Santa Cruz Barillas, Guatemala, who used to support his family on barely $6 a day. Throughout the country, farmers like Joaquín are subsistence farmers—the primary economic activity in rural Guatemala.

EcoLogic and the Northern Border Municipalities Alliance (Mancomunidad de Municipios Frontera del Norte), our partner organization with our Indigenous Peoples for Thriving Ecosystems project in northern Guatemala, are working with small-holder farmers to find ways to both improve livelihoods and protect the environment. Through an innovative government program called the Program of Incentives for Small-Scale Agricultural Producers (PINPEP in Spanish), we are introducing small-scale farmers to financial incentives earned by planting trees or responsibly managing existing forests, such as by adopting agroforestry techniques. EcoLogic’s technical staff helps farmers navigate the bureaucracy by providing training and assistance in filing the required enrollment paperwork.

Last year, Joaquín learned about PINPEP and enrolled with EcoLogic’s help. He is now actively conserving more than 30 acres of forest on his property, and earns an additional $2,600 a year for protecting the forest—more than doubling his family’s annual income. In one year, EcoLogic has connected 34 farmers in Santa Cruz Barillas and 42 in San Mateo Ixtatán. This group of 76 farmers has already reforested 111 acres in Barillas and San Mateo, planting about 50,000 trees!

Having an incentive to practice environmentally sustainable land use also helps to address the challenges posed by slash-and-burn agriculture, a destructive but widely used method of growing food in which wild or forested land is clear cut and any remaining vegetation burned.

Together with our donors and partners, we look forward to continuing to find innovative
solutions that benefit farmers and the land they depend on.

Joaquín’s story originally appeared in our print newsletter, The EcoLogical Landscape. View the full newsletter as a PDF here!

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