Project: Women’s Small Agriculture & Wild Fruit Production (Phase II)
Partners: Fundacion Renace & the Moseten Indigenous Women’s Group
Project Description: This exciting project in Alto Beni, Bolivia supports indigenous women farmers by providing the infrastructure to collect and process wild fruit through canning, juicing and drying, which allows them to sell their produce over a longer period of time and gain access to potential export markets. Women are also harvesting cacao fruit to produce their own chocolate, as well. Organic dried fruit and chocolate products are becoming increasingly valuable commodity in the global marketplace, providing great economic benefit to indigenous communities.
Regional Challenges: Moseten Indigenous peoples living in the Alto Beni region of Bolivia are currently facing high rates of poverty, extreme poverty, and malnourishment. Due to the lush rainforest geography and climate, many non-indigenous peoples have migrated to the area to work in the logging industry, along with banana and citrus fruit plantations. Resources are being overexploited by industry, and damaging the delicate rainforest ecosystem. As well, Moseten women are often without economic means to care for their children and influence community decision making.
Impact: By providing the basic infrastructure to the Moseten Indigenous Women’s Group in the Alto Beni region, women are using traditional and scientific knowledge to train other women in small-scale natural fruit production and processing. Women are gaining the economic means to provide food, education and healthcare for their children, and as well, becoming empowered to participate in community decision making. As well, the preference to harvest fruit trees is providing shade and recycling nutrients into the soil, which is beneficial to the rainforest ecosystem.
Our Partners: Fundacion Renace is Bolivian-based social and environmental NGO with a 6-year history working with indigenous and rural campesino communities on sustainable agriculture projects. The Moseten Indigenous Women’s Group has been organizing in their communities for many decades, providing social and emotional support to women, and encouraging participation in community decision making.