Productive development and food security programme [Nicaragua]

approaches_2349 - Nicaragua

Completeness: 81%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Approach

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:

Gómez Julio

(505) 0772-7108

ADDAC Managua, Nicaragua

De ENITEL 3c al Norte y 75 varas al Este. Calle Santa Ana, Apartado Postal 161, Matagalpa, Nicaragua

Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Book project: where the land is greener - Case Studies and Analysis of Soil and Water Conservation Initiatives Worldwide (where the land is greener)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Approach (if relevant)
Asociación para la Diversificación y el Desarrollo Agricultural Comunal (ADDAC) (Asociación para la Diversificación y el Desarrollo Agricultural Comunal (ADDAC)) - Nicaragua

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


1.4 Reference(s) to Questionnaire(s) on SLM Technologies


Vermiculture [Nicaragua]

Continuous breeding of earthworms in boxes for production of high quality organic compost.

  • Compiler: Ramén Ernesto Caceres Ordonez

2. Description of the SLM Approach

2.1 Short description of the Approach

An integrated programme-based approach promoting participatory testing and extension of various SWC technologies, as well as providing institutional support.

2.2 Detailed description of the Approach

Detailed description of the Approach:

Aims / objectives: The Association for Agricultural Community Development and Diversification (ADDAC) is a non-profit NGO, founded in 1989, whose mission is to improve the living standard of poor rural families engaged in small/medium scale farming in marginal areas to the north of Nicaragua. The main purpose of ADDAC's approach is to develop and strengthen local capacity to analyse problems and find solutions for rural sustainable development. There are five main components: (1) food security and productive development, including technological improvement and diversification within traditional crop cultivation, and extension of alternative agricultural land use practices; (2) support to farmers??? organisations; (3) promotion of gender equality; (4) identification of alternatives in marketing; and (5) provision of an alternative credit system for farming. These fields of activities are based on the principles of organic agriculture and a powerful training process - using the methodology of 'popular education', which involves participatory training and extension activities.

Methods: ADDAC initiates its work in communities through PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) - evaluating problems and potential solutions. These serve as a base for the formulation of project proposals which are then submitted to interested financing organisations. Further steps include participatory planning, and later, evaluation, in collaboration with the land users. For execution of activities ADDAC contracts an interdisciplinary crew of specialists, which stays in the area. Twice a year a participatory reunion is organised to evaluate, and accordingly improve, the activities. Key to the approach is the formation of a grassroots organisation in each community to guarantee local management, build up alternative enterprises and promote community development. These organisations consist of representatives of local support groups, and farmers with a leading role in SWC application and extension. The organisations have various functions during the lifetime of a project: they are the counterparts of the extensionists for project execution, and later they ensure sustainability of activities. Farmers' associations are formed to improve storage and marketing of crops. Networks of local promoters exchange experience between communities and consolidate extension of alternative technologies. Demonstration farms serve as a tool for technology extension, innovation and validation.

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Approach has been applied



Region/ State/ Province:


2.6 Dates of initiation and termination of the Approach

Indicate year of initiation:


2.7 Type of Approach

  • project/ programme based

2.8 Main aims/ objectives of the Approach

Support the economical sustainability and food security of land users in the project area through increased production, diversification, soil conservation and environmental protection. - develop feasible production models, aimed at self-sufficiency and the integration of land users into an alternative internal and external market; build up alternative forms of marketing and credit systems. - community development and capacity building: build-up local farmers' organisation

The SLM Approach addressed the following problems: Lack of organisation and skills to analyse and overcome underlying problems of: - poverty; lack of financial resources for investments (eg in SWC). - insufficient food/poor nutrition. - soil degradation/indiscriminate burning of vegetation. - lack of appropriate technologies. - lack of access to public services and markets

2.9 Conditions enabling or hindering implementation of the Technology/ Technologies applied under the Approach

social/ cultural/ religious norms and values
  • hindering

Resistance to implement SWC technologies by some land users

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Awareness raising, demonstration plots, convince with facts.

availability/ access to financial resources and services
  • hindering

Poverty, lack of resources for investments into SWC.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Support in the form of credit, basically in kind but also in cash (see credit section).

institutional setting
  • hindering

Lack of collaboration between land users.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Strengthen farmers' organisation.

legal framework (land tenure, land and water use rights)
  • enabling

Most of the land users have individual properties which facilitates the implementation of the SWC approach activities.

  • hindering

Lack of land use rights.

Treatment through the SLM Approach: Problem cannot be resolved under the project.

3. Participation and roles of stakeholders involved

3.1 Stakeholders involved in the Approach and their roles

  • local land users/ local communities

The integration of women is a key element of the approach. Nevertheless, there are moderate differences due to cultural factors: men are mainly in charge of agricultural activities, whereas women work in the household.

  • SLM specialists/ agricultural advisers
  • national government (planners, decision-makers)
3.2 Involvement of local land users/ local communities in the different phases of the Approach
Involvement of local land users/ local communities Specify who was involved and describe activities
initiation/ motivation interactive rapid/participatory rural appraisal; participatory planning in public meetings
planning interactive public meetings, workshops/seminars; assemblies for municipal planning (elaboration of community action plan)
implementation interactive responsibility for major steps; execution of the action plans where each community decides
monitoring/ evaluation interactive Mainly: public meetings; partly: workshop/seminars, measurements/observations; a specialist is in charge of the continuation of activities and of the planning process with each community; annual assembly of delegates representing all communities assisted by ADDAC
Research interactive on-farm; on-farm experimentation with interested land users: assessment of different technologies (variety tests, evaluation of ecological effects, etc)

3.4 Decision-making on the selection of SLM Technology/ Technologies

Specify who decided on the selection of the Technology/ Technologies to be implemented:
  • mainly land users, supported by SLM specialists

Decisions on the method of implementing the SLM Technology were made by mainly by land users supported by SLM specialists

4. Technical support, capacity building, and knowledge management

4.1 Capacity building/ training

Was training provided to land users/ other stakeholders?


Form of training:
  • farmer-to-farmer
  • demonstration areas
  • public meetings
Subjects covered:

The form of training promoted by ADDAC is called 'popular education'. It is a continuous and participatory process of mutual learning between farmers and technicians, based on a course of 'action - reassessment - action', with the aim of re-establishing indigenous knowledge, improving local self-esteem and the ability to analyse innovations, and, in the long term, to build up the capacity withi

4.2 Advisory service

Do land users have access to an advisory service?


Specify whether advisory service is provided:
  • on land users' fields
Describe/ comments:

Key elements: demonstration areas, technical assistance through farm visits, farmer-to-farmer extension, local promoters organised into 'Local Support Groups', associated network.

4.3 Institution strengthening (organizational development)

Have institutions been established or strengthened through the Approach?
  • yes, a little
Specify the level(s) at which institutions have been strengthened or established:
  • local
  • building up groups (see Annexe 3)

4.4 Monitoring and evaluation

Is monitoring and evaluation part of the Approach?



Socio-cultural aspects were ad hoc monitored by 0 through observations; indicators: land users needs
Economic / production aspects were ad hoc monitored by 0 through observations; indicators: nutritional security, cost-benefit-ratio, deversification, organic products, certified production, production for markets
No. of land users involved aspects were regular monitored by 0 through measurements; indicators: strategic plan, progress of project
Management of Approach aspects were regular monitored by None through measurements; indicators: None
Training aspects were regular monitored by None through observations; indicators: land users trained as local promoters
There were several changes in the Approach as a result of monitoring and evaluation: at the beginning the approach consisted only of two components: training and research. Then it was broadened to involve extension of SWC technologies and promotion of crop diversification. Later the credit programme and the organisational component became part of the approach. The approach activities are supposed to be a continuously expanded based on the needs of the land users.

4.5 Research

Was research part of the Approach?


Specify topics:
  • technology
Give further details and indicate who did the research:

Research is carried out on demonstration farms through local promoters. Topics include on-farm testing of technologies, and adaptive trials with maize and pea varieties.

5. Financing and external material support

5.1 Annual budget for the SLM component of the Approach

Comments (e.g. main sources of funding/ major donors):

Approach costs were met by the following donors: international non-government (-): 90.0%; national non-government (-): 10.0%

5.2 Financial/ material support provided to land users

Did land users receive financial/ material support for implementing the Technology/ Technologies?


5.3 Subsidies for specific inputs (including labour)

  • equipment
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
tools partly financed
  • agricultural
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
fresh cattle manure Gift from neigbours to farmers who don't have cattle
  • infrastructure
Specify which inputs were subsidised To which extent Specify subsidies
community infrastructure fully financed
If labour by land users was a substantial input, was it:
  • voluntary

land users works on their own farms at their own cost.

5.4 Credit

Was credit provided under the Approach for SLM activities?


Specify conditions (interest rate, payback, etc.):

Interest rate charged: 1.5%; repayment conditions: Credit was provided through the programme of alternative financing by ADDAC. The 1.5% interest rate (lower than the market rate) is accessible to individuals and organised groups..

Interest was lower than market rate.

6. Impact analysis and concluding statements

6.1 Impacts of the Approach

Did the Approach help land users to implement and maintain SLM Technologies?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly
Did other land users / projects adopt the Approach?
  • No
  • Yes, little
  • Yes, moderately
  • Yes, greatly

There are 6 more projects assisted by ADDAC, which use the same approach in the north of Nicaragua.

6.3 Sustainability of Approach activities

Can the land users sustain what has been implemented through the Approach (without external support)?
  • yes

6.4 Strengths/ advantages of the Approach

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
Growing active integration of women (25% more contribution to farm income and >25% more participation in decision making in comparison with non-participants) (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Keep the gender programme as a component of the approach.)
Farmers' organisations: build up capacity for autonomous management of alternative development activities (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Integrate more farmers in the baseline organisations.)
Efficient extension method: 86% of involved land users apply more than 3 different SWC technologies promoted by the approach which contributes to sustainable development of the region (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Maintain and extend present farmer-to-farmer extension system: continue training of local promoters, network of promoters, local support group.)
Evaluation of land users' needs and involvement of new approach components according to their needs; continuous mutual learning process between land users and between land users and extensionists/specialists (How to sustain/ enhance this strength: Continue the present 6-monthly evaluation procedures; implement a system of information, communication, evaluation and monitoring to analyse the impact of the approach activities.)
Increasing self-esteem of the people.

6.5 Weaknesses/ disadvantages of the Approach and ways of overcoming them

Weaknesses/ disadvantages/ risks in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view How can they be overcome?
Process takes long and requires high inputs of human resources and materials In an integrated approach with strong participation of land users this problem is unavoidable; formulation of good project proposals help in finding donors to finance long-term programmes.

7. References and links

7.1 Methods/ sources of information

  • field visits, field surveys
  • interviews with land users

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Rolando Bunch (1990) Dos Mazorcas de Ma??z Anon (1990) El peque?? agricultor en Honduras ADDAC (2002) Plan

Links and modules

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