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Nicaragua crisis:FairTrade co-op advocates peace through dialogue

News from Nicaragua | Monday, 25 June 2018 |

An end to all violence is critical to the livelihoods of thousands of small scale farmers

An end to all violence is critical to the livelihoods of thousands of small scale farmers

Since 2002, NSC has worked with co-operatives in Nicaragua through promoting awareness of and understanding between Nicaraguan small scale farmers and UK Fair Trade activists.

One of these co-operatives is CECOCAFEN, an umbrella organisation based in the northern Nicaraguan Department of Matagalpa that brings together over 2,100 small scale farmers organised into eleven co-operatives.

Their main source of income is coffee which is exported through Fair Trade markets and fruit and vegetables for family consumption and to sell locally.

Another important source of income was eco-tourism which contributed to environmental protection by providing families with extra income to invest in their communities and farms, enabling them to live more sustainably.

What has been achieved under the Sandinista government

* The Government of Reconciliation and National Unity of President Daniel Ortega, as well as being formed by a Sandinista majority also represents the progressive sector in national political life and carries out programmes for the benefit of all. One of these has been to achieve eleven years of peace in the country for the first time in recent decades.

* In terms of achievements in social wellbeing there has never been a free basic health service in Nicaragua before; this service now includes some specialisms, increases in medical and tertiary personnel, health posts and hospitals in rural areas, community health care, prenatal care for prenatal women and new born babies, and programmes of preventative medicine and treatment of infectious diseases.

* Education provision has been in extended in cities and towns and even in small settlements, with more classrooms, schools, technical colleges and universities now accessible to poor families.

* The national road network is open all year round; the construction of bridges and sewerage systems has been extended at national level including in our own area.

* As is the case over the whole country, nearly all the communities that are part of CECOCAFEN, even those who are in the remotest areas, have electricity. These are places where under previous governments getting electricity was beyond people’s wildest dreams.

* There has been peace and security in the countryside because of the work of the government and the police in controlling crime, principally theft. Measures have also been taken to prevent international drug cultivation and trafficking, something which differentiates us from our Central American neighbours and the Nicaragua of the past. All of this has helped us to improve and sustain our productivity.

*There has been an opening up and growth of local businesses which has helped the families of the co-operatives and the communities.

Hopes for the future:peace through dialogue

‘We have faith in the efforts being made to encourage dialogue and understanding in the interests of the country’s wellbeing and the work being undertaken to ensure the functioning of government.’

‘We hope that the international community will be properly informed about events and that it will declare itself to be in favour of promoting the objectives of peace.’

‘We hope to be able to reactivate our productive and commercial activities as soon as possible.’

‘In spite of the current damage and adverse prognosis, we in CECOCAFEN are continuing our work with families and their organizations at grassroots level so that we can help their farms in different and innovative ways in order to increase their productivity and to reach their target yields.

‘We are supporting them in defending their human right to life, to work, and to sustain the livelihoods of themselves and their communities. ’