As a result of the collaboration between the Livestock and Fish program, CATIE, and Heifer International with Solidaridad Network’s Farmer Support Program, the project “competitive beef and dairy through sustainable intensification and specialized market access” will be implemented in the Nicaraguan departments of Matagalpa, RAAS, and Boaco. The project’s objective is to improve the competitiveness and income of small and medium cattle farmers in Nicaragua through the implementation of good farm management practices and the creation and strengthening of sustainable beef and dairy value chains.
The project’s actions are aimed at creating a sustainable livestock platform and validating incentive mechanisms, to generate long-term outcomes far beyond the scope of the project. This will lead to the sustainable intensification of farms and add value to products, facilitating access to specialized markets, including steps such as certification of farms and processing plants.
Among the project’s expected results are providing cattle farmers with knowledge on good farm management practices in line with Rainforest Alliance and Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) standards, implementation of technologies aimed at the sustainable intensification of farms, and a proposal to generate incentive mechanisms involving the private sector to enhance adoption of sustainable farming practices.
The project also involves the private sector by seeking an important Nicaraguan slaughterhouse and exporter committed to commercializing meat from farmers participating in the project, helping to strengthen the sustainable beef and dairy value chain.
The proposed target group consists of small and medium cattle farmers affiliated to Cooperativa Multisectorial de Lácteos Nicacentro RL., a cooperative comprising 689 members. Nicaraguan families consist on average of six people, which implies that 5,000 people will benefit directly, with indirect benefits extending to other farmers in the area, as well as actors in the meat and dairy value chains.
The project’s intervention strategy approaches the issues through four main components, including local capacity-building, exploring and testing market incentive mechanisms to increase technology adoption and generate added value in meat and milk production, promoting sustainable farming practices and sustainable livestock products to access specialized market niches, and the continuation of project activities beyond the scope of the project through the creation of a sustainable livestock farming platform.
The practices promoted by the project will lead to a sustainable intensification of the farms, better smallholder adaptation to climate change, and offer a business opportunity in specialized markets through a certification process with internationally recognized standards. This will lead to the expected project impacts of poverty reduction, environmental sustainability, and capacity building within the target group.