Sedimentation, which is caused by uncontrolled deforestation, and harmful agricultural practices threaten the lake's survival over the next decade. Besides, water shortages are expected to cause unemployment and compromise vegetable availability. This, in turn, will result in a less sustainable and diverse diet for urban and rural consumers. Also, Nicaraguan vegetable farmers do not get any incentives from the public sector and in general, they are not or poorly organised.
Additionally, MASLAGO also faces some challenges. Forested vegetation has been reduced by 26%, showing an annual loss equivalent to 1.24%, which represents 190.22 hectares per year. Considering the political context of Nicaragua, one of the main challenges is to institutionalise the practices promoted by the platform and include them in national or local public policy. However, the group considers itself a neutral space in the territory, which is why it brings together so many stakeholders, including public universities.
In Managua, restaurants, fast food chains and private consumers need vegetables every day. However, that diet could change drastically due to water shortages. Beans and corn, for example, require much less water than lettuce and cabbage. If all the farmers in Jinotega were to change their crops, this would have a significant impact on the consumption of vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage in Managua.
Rikolto has used the Integrated Landscape Management approach to facilitate the initiative. The approach was designed by EcoAgriculture Partners. It is a tool that allows various sectors, including agriculture, forestry, energy, fisheries, livestock, tourism to cooperate in coming up with innovative solutions to alleviate the growing pressure on natural resources.
Cycle route for integrated landscape management that Rikolto has facilitated with the MASLAGO group. (Global Forum about landscape, Varsovia, 2013)
The group has developed a common understanding of the landscape and defined two strategic lines of work, namely sedimentation and pollution. Each member of the platform committed to work on one of these 2 lines according to their own vision and mission. To this date, the platform has focused on development:
“Every year we organise a campaign to recycle empty agrochemical containers, with MASLAGO we expand the reach thanks to the participation of organisations such as La Cuculmeca, the indigenous community, the Tuktan Sirpi Children's Association and other private companies. Now we collect not only the containers, but also paper, cardboard and other environmentally polluting materials”
Flor de Maria RivasExecutive Director, ANIFODA
Execution period: 2017 -2021
Direct beneficiaries: 25,000 families
In 2017, the MASLAGO group organised the first forum for the sustainability of Lake Apanás. At this time, all private and public organizations were invited to learn about the lake's problems and exchange information from different perspectives. Vegetable cooperatives, NGDOs, universities and research centres participated.
Working with a landscape management approach allowed us to bring together stakeholders in an initial dialogue that led to the creation of MASLAGO. The 20 participating institutions engaged in a systematic process of exchange and common understanding of landscape conditions, including their challenges and opportunities. This allowed for collaboration in planning and the development of a vision and an action plan.
Rikolto supports the transition to sustainable, inclusive and healthy local food systems in cities in seven countries around the world, namely Indonesia, Vietnam, Tanzania, Belgium, Honduras, Burkina Faso and Ecuador
The group currently consists of 20 institutions, including vegetable cooperatives and the indigenous community that benefits from the preservation of their environment and livelihood. Private companies that benefit from continued production around the lake, non-profit organisations, and research institutions have also joined the platform.
Meet the voices behind MASLAGO in the following mini-doc (video in Spanish with English subtitles)
The group is made up of the following organisations, associations and companies: