Women-Led Agroecology is Climate Action

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The revamped smoker means less burden on the women who use it. Credit: Fernande Abanda

In Guinea-Bissau, women’s collectives and community organizations are fighting climate change through the way they produce and prepare food. And for the past year, together with our long-term counterpart, Tiniguena, you have been supporting their efforts through your donations to Inter Pares.

Guinea-Bissau is a low-lying country on the West African coast, rich in biodiversity, forests, rivers, inlets and islands, where most of its population lives directly off the land and sea. Rural women here often hold vast farming knowledge and steward diverse foods and seeds. This diversity is crucial for climate change adaptation. In a rapidly changing world, crop diversity helps to mitigate risks and ups a farmer’s odds of achieving a harvest in spite of rising temperatures, droughts, saltwater intrusion and increasingly violent storms. 

Protecting existing ecosystems from further degradation can help mitigate climate change. This is done through agroecology, where ecological principles and local farmers’ knowledge guide the way food is grown, protecting soils, water, and biodiversity – without the use of chemical inputs such as fertilizer. 

In Djabada Porto, a community in the Quinara region, Tiniguena supported the rehabilitation of a high-efficiency fish smoker, which allows the women’s collective of about 150 members to smoke 600 kilograms of fish per month – an important source of income. This smoker uses just 20% of the wood usually needed, meaning fewer trees cut down and less burden on the women who collect firewood. 

Women farmers through Inter Pares are also guardiões das sementes, or seed savers. In this region that means that they protect incredible crop diversity, including upward of 30 rice varieties! Tiniguena works with a network of seed savers to maintain and exchange seeds with farmers from other areas to build up seed reserves and conserve diversity. 

This past year, Tiniguena also inaugurated a rice processing station equipped with a machine that mechanically de-husks rice, getting it ready to sell and eat. This dramatically reduces the time and energy women spend processing rice, while also providing communities with locally-sourced, ecologically-grown rice. 

Inter Pares looks forward to keeping you informed about this promising work that you support, in the years to come.   

Protecting existing ecosystems from further degradation can help mitigate climate change.

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