Agricultural Production Team Final Report: Production Capacity in the Bajo Lempa 3 previously existed. The majority of the population consists of families who had left ElSalvador during the civil war and were later repatriated to the Bajo Lempa area. LaCoordinadora and Asociación Mangle were created to develop capacity and sustainefforts to improve the lives of the people of the area and protect their vulnerableenvironment.Agricultural production is one of the main areas of focus for Asociación Mangle. It is afundamental premise of the organization that enabling people to feed themselves is one of the basic tenets of development. However, in this area, many challenges have beenencountered. Foremost among them is the fact that the Bajo Lempa is a climaticallyvolatile area. Due to its geographic location in the flood banks of the Lempa River, thearea faces long periods of both drought and seasonal flooding. The flooding is further exacerbated by the occasional opening of the 15
of September Dam on the LempaRiver, a measure intended to protect communities upriver but which wreaks havoc on thecommunities downstream.In addition, the area of the Bajo Lempa faces many challenges concerning human capitalin agriculture. Due to the fact that the majority of the local inhabitants are relativelyrecent transplants, there is little historical experience in successful food production in thisspecific area.
Like many communities of displaced and repatriated populationsthroughout the world, there is minimal communal memory concerning best practices,traditional vocations, and other activities.Current practices have done little to move agricultural production past the point of simplesustenance farming. Lack of crop diversity, lack of access to financial resources, use of chemical fertilizers, and a general deficiency in agricultural knowledge have created anunsustainable and unpredictable production output in the area. Asociación Mangle has been working diligently to alleviate many of these problems. Most of the localhouseholds possess home gardens of some size and shape, and often rent out or own aseparate parcel where basic crops including corn, sorghum, and sugar cane are grown.However, despite their best efforts, many people cannot move past sustenance farmingand continue to be greatly affected by natural and economic adversity.Thus, with the understanding that these problems, worsened by government inaction andneglect, are impeding overall development of the Bajo Lempa, Asociación Mangle hashighlighted food sovereignty as one of its main long-term objectives. In working towardsits attainment, Mangle strives to support the people of its constituent communities to become less reliant on non-local sources of agricultural products, generate and retainincome in the community, and create a market environment in which people can dependon consistent sources of locally-produced food.In January of 2009, the work of Team Monterey 3 highlighted some key barriers toachieving this objective. Communities within the Bajo Lempa lack transportation to bringtheir goods, not to mention themselves, back and forth from the market and other points
Asociación Mangle described the Bajo Lempa as predominantly tropical forest before it was settled bythose displaced by the civil war. The land has never been used for agricultural purposes in modern times.