Deforestation, biodiversity loss and the illegal exploitation of natural resources are some of the main challenges that forests face today. However, in sharing these common challenges, governments across the world can also find common solutions.
With this in mind, the GCF Task Force, in collaboration with the regional government of San Martín, hosted its first-ever ‘exchange of experiences’ session on 10 October 2022. Nearly 500 participants gathered in Moyobamba, Peru, with representatives from government, indigenous communities, civil society, global investors and small to medium-sized business organisations.
As part of this session, our Under2 Coalition team, alongside WWF Peru, the Tropical Forest Alliance and three farming representatives from Iñapari, presented the results of our joint pilot project: "From policy design to field implementation: fostering deforestation-free cattle ranching in Madre de Dios, Peru", financed by UK PACT Peru. The first phase of this project supported more than 200 farmers in Madre de Dios to introduce deforestation-free livestock practices in their day-to-day activities.
We were also able to announce the exciting news that we are now entering a second phase of the project, where we’ll be strengthening the existing work in Madre de Dios and expanding into another Peruvian jurisdiction.
The ‘San Martín’ case study
Today, San Martín is a top tourist destination in the Peruvian Amazon - but this wasn’t always the case. In the 1980s, this area contended with drug trafficking and terrorism due to its warm and humid weather, which created the perfect conditions for coca cultivation.
International intervention and strong political will from the national government has since shifted the economy. Now, its luscious lands are covered in cacao, palm oil and coffee plantations, as well as a wide ecotourism offer.
During the first two days of the ‘exchange of experiences’ session, attendees were able to visit San Martín and learn how small businesses, government associations and inhabitants of biodiversity reserves are working to reduce the current drivers of deforestation, whilst providing rural producers, farmers and local communities with sustainable economic options.
Among these projects, we found chocolate cooperatives run by women, native plant nurseries led by indigenous communities, ecosystem service initiatives to deliver financial rewards and cattle ranching projects to reduce deforestation.
Two of our farmers in Iñapari, Maritza and Luciano, travelled to Moyobamba and participated in the ‘exchange of experiences’. We asked them to share their impressions of this event with us:
“The role of the San Martín government in this shift is very impressive! They’re collaborative and open to working with local communities. This teamwork took time but has shown results. I would like the authorities in Madre de Dios to consider replicating this model, and work closely with our communities to stop deforestation.
Changing people’s ways is challenging. Right now, not even 50% of farmers in Iñapari are incorporating regenerative agriculture practices. While cattle ranching represents our means of subsistence, it doesn’t have to come at the expense of the climate. We must become agents of change for our region and for the rest of Peru.
With this project extension, other farmers will be able to see the results and convince themselves of the need for change.”
“The event organisers did an amazing job in showing us so many projects! Through the field trips, we learnt about the conservation of biodiversity areas, ecotourism practices and how to take advantage of regional crops like aguaje, cacao, and coffee. We could absolutely replicate this in Madre de Dios where we also have these products. However, cattle ranching plays a major economic role there.
In this first phase of the project (AGRAP), we observed that regenerative agriculture could help us duplicate or even triplicate our production per hectare. We also realised that annual "quemas" (burning vegetation for agricultural or livestock purposes) are not needed, which is a common practice that affects our forests. But most importantly, we learnt that these practices are profitable.
In this second phase, teamwork is key. Through the farmer field schools and word of mouth, we can showcase these results and get more farmers to join our movement!