Spicing Things Up: Plans for a Pepper Co-operative
As well as subsistence food crops, cash crops are hugely important for Honduran families who need the money to buy what they cannot grow themselves, which includes everything from shoes to school books. Growing high value cash crops on slash and burn plots is often all but impossible as the plots are so far from family homes that families cannot manage to plant, nurture and guard demanding and expensive cash crops. By allowing families to grow crops right beside their homes, Inga alley cropping opens up a whole new range of possibilities in terms of the cash crops families can successfully produce. One of these possibilities is using Inga alley cropping to grow pepper, as Rosa and her family have been doing.
Given this, we are really excited to share the news that 10 families from El Pital community in the Cangrejal area have grouped together with the plan of forming a Co-operative selling pepper grown using the Inga alley system. Three members of the group already have established Inga alleys and have decided to let the Inga go to seed this year in order to supply the other members of the group with the seed they need to establish their own alley plots. The pepper will be grown on living support trees (Gliricidia sepium) and will be processed and sold in nearby towns.
Money from donations has been used to create the first Pepper Root Propagating Unit (see picture) needed to produce the young pepper plants. This, along with the 5000 pepper cuttings that have just been donated by a farmer from the local area, means the project is rapidly taking shape. We will keep you posted on the progress of these 10 ambitious and determined families as they work to make their plans for a Pepper Co-operative a reality.