In Peru, farmers find ways to grow food without burning down the forest | Global Ideas | DW | 04.07.2019
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In Peru, farmers find ways to grow food without burning down the forest

Farmers around the Peruvian city of Iquitos usually burn parts of the Amazon rainforest so they can grow food in the fertile soil. Now, they're finding alternatives to the destructive practice.

Watch video 06:28

Peru: Sustainable farming in the rainforest

Project aim: Creating productive agroforestry systems with local communities as a financially and environmentally sustainable alternative to conventional farming to halt deforestation

Project implementation: Merging traditional Amazonian farming techniques with modern permaculture concepts. Working with locals to apply these methods instead of slash and burn agriculture.

Like many other small farmers in the Amazon rainforest around the Peruvian city of Iquitos, Eder Perez grows just one crop — the yucca plant. But in order to do so, he burns down parts of the jungle to create fields. The plants thrive in the fertile ash-filled soil, but only for about a year. Then the farmers have to burn down a new patch.

This slash and burn agriculture method is putting further pressure on a part of the Amazon that's already threatened from logging and large farming plantations. The rate of deforestation in the Iquitos forest has hit the highest rates in a decade.

The Chaikuni Institute, a self-described grassroots collective, is working with farmers like Perez on an agroforestry project. By coupling old Amazonian techniques with modern sustainable farming concepts, they hope communities can support themselves without burning down the forest.

A film by Tanja Blut

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