Tropenbos Suriname is committed to ensuring food security within the Saamaka community

Tropenbos Suriname is committed to ensuring food security within the Saamaka community

Suriname - 23 mei, 2024

“We strive to improve the livelihoods of people in the interior,” says Shanaya Vishnudatt, project assistant at Tropenbos Suriname. 'The focus is on reducing dependence on seasonal crops. We therefore introduce them to agroforestry techniques and provide guidance in applying them to their agricultural land. This allows them to increase and improve their food production.'

Last week, Tropenbos Suriname signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Finance and Planning for the implementation of the project 'Enhancing resilience of Saamaka communities in a world of increased risks and digital opportunities'. The project is financed by the Basic Needs Trust Fund 10, which is managed by the Caribbean Development Bank.

This project aims to guarantee the food security of the Saamaka community and focuses on fourteen villages along the Upper Suriname River, namely Pikin Pada, Banavookondre, Bekiokondre, Baikutu, Duwatra, Pokigron, Ginginston, Pamboko, Amakakonde, Abenaston, Kaajapati, Jaw Jaw, Lespansi 1 and Lespansi 2, with seventy participants. These communities are trained in agroforestry methods to improve food production. An inception meeting was also held in Pokigron in the same week, where residents were provided with extensive information and had the opportunity to ask questions.

Agroforestry is a form of agroecology, an academic discipline that studies how ecological processes can be applied to agricultural production systems. Inland, shifting cultivation is more common, an agricultural technique in which trees and other plants in a forest are cut down and burned to create a field called an agricultural plot. The ash from the burned vegetation provides nutrients that help fertilize crops. The land is then farmed for a short time and then people move on to clearing a new piece of land.

'By combining agriculture with trees in the area, water management is improved, among other things. That is one of the advantages of agroforestry. We often work on existing agricultural plots, whereby no new agricultural plots need to be created. We strive to combine traditional agricultural techniques with new methods. For example, in Conservation International's Local actors for change in hinterlands, Lach project, we divided agricultural land in two: on one part they were allowed to plant as they were used to, and on the other part they had we applied an agroforestry design. The aim of this is so that they can see the difference between both approaches and experience the benefits of agroforestry.'

The project has had an extensive preparation period, starting around 2021, and now implementation has finally started. With a duration of ten months, the staff of Tropenbos Suriname will travel to the Upper Suriname area every month to carry out the activities. Locally, there are four local coordinators who live in the area and will be in constant contact with the villagers.

“Sustainability is central to this project,” Vishnudatt emphasizes. 'We strive for climate-smart landscapes that benefit not only the current generation, but also the next. That is why we focus on promoting food security in domestic communities through agroforestry.”

Published on April 25, 2024 on