Agricultural lands in Nicaragua do not have a woman's face

Idania Maricela and her cooperative members have to rent in order to grow. A law that would create a fund for the purchase of land with gender equity in Nicaragua, a mostly agricultural country, continues to sleep in the dream of the righteous, 10 years after it was approved.

Nicaraguan peasants continue to wait for the State to allocate a budget item, as established by the Law that Creates a Fund for the Purchase of Land with Gender Equality, approved 10 years ago, to have access to their own plots.

While that day arrives, women continue to work on rented or borrowed land to be able to produce at least for consumption.


That is the case of Idania Maricela Moreno, a 26-year-old woman producer, involved in the struggle for access to land for eight years.

She, who belongs to a cooperative, does not have her own land to cultivate, so she uses the patio of her house to produce pipianes, cassava, bananas, chili, lemons and avocados.

"We are 19 women (in the cooperative). We are going to start growing in an orchard because we have no land and in our houses we only grow in the yard in small orchards," Moreno explained to Efe.

This cooperative rents properties to grow in the community "Ojo de Agua", department of Chinandega, 142 kilometers northwest of Managua, which is part of the "dry corridor", so that producers face difficulties in watering their crops.

Moreno said that group of women managed to buy, with their own resources, half a hectare of land, and they will start working.


"For us women, the land is something that empowers us, because we see it as an asset (with which) we can decide, and it can give us security and with it (land) we can have access to credit, resources and growth economic and, above all, independence, "argued Lisseth Escalante, another producer.

Escalante, 30, is vice president of the Women in Action cooperative and has been involved in field work since the age of 13.

Now she works on a hectare of land that her mother inherited and does not have to incur rental expenses, but until a few years ago she had to rent land to produce.

Escalante, who is also a student of Agronomic Engineering, witnesses how the rental of one hectare of land has gone from $ 18 to $ 200 for each three-month production cycle.

One of the reasons for the increase in the income of the land is that the big producers offer more money per hectare and take out the farmers from competition, he said.

Escalante, a brunette woman roasted by the sun and vivacious black eyes, got involved in the struggle for access to land, which she defines as "difficult because you have been breaking schemes and you have been touching rights issues and above all issues that claim a right for the women".


On May 5, 2010, the National Assembly of Nicaragua, after numerous activities promoted by the Coordinator of Rural Women, the Association of Farm Workers and other cooperative expressions, approved the Law Creating the Fund for Purchase of Land with Gender Equity for Rural Women.

In 2011, the Rural Women Coordinator, as part of a food justice campaign, requested the Government to allocate 50 million córdobas (about 1.47 million dollars) of the budget to benefit 300 women farmers in the departments of León and Chinandega for being the most affected by the drought, said the president of that NGO, María Teresa Fernández.

Between July and October 2015, 100 women farmers, designated by their organizations, sent the same number of letters to the Presidency of the Republic exposing their poverty situation and demanding compliance with the law, without any response, said Fernández, 63 and economist by profession.

"We will continue working because that law is implemented. It has cost women. It is a law of the Republic and the Nicaraguan State has to comply," he argued.

The State of Nicaragua has kept silent about the demand of the peasants and has not explained why it does not allocate resources for the purchase of agricultural land.

The agricultural sector represents 20% of Nicaragua's GDP.

Martha Delgado García


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