Aware that migratory agriculture is one of the main threats to the rainforest, Taricaya created in 2004 the Pilot Farm to perform various experiments on polycultures and their productivity in one area at different times of the year. At the beginning, this model included livestock (goat, chickens and guinea pigs – a delicacy in Peru). Animals were eventually passed on to local communities. Whilst working with traditional crops, new combinations were planted, with tropical fruits and flowers, that produce short term and saplings of timber species of trees and the concept of the agroforestry system was put to the test. Since then growth and productivity of the Pilot Farm has been constantly monitored to determine its ecological and economic value and prove that the model can be advantageous as an alternative land use for a family´s livelihood and for reforestation. In 2012, Taricaya started a second farm to replicate the model at a larger scale and make the land productive again to demonstrate that the model is indeed successful. Today, we maintain the Pilot farm for research, education, production of saplings and Mahogany harvesting (we have an established Mahogany plantation) and work on the second farm continuously implementing the model now producing bananas and corn combined with still little timber species of trees that are growing while we harvest the other crops. Our aims:
- Develop new techniques for agriculture and reforestation designed for local families to recover their abandoned plots with plants and timber that will provide them with a better income.
- Regenerate and reforest areas of land into productive and valuable forests.
- Promote effective and more sustainable alternatives for land users in the region.
- Educate and create project awareness to convince more people to replicate this project, either independently or with our help to expand our area of influence.
As a volunteers your weekly activities involve assisting the staff in charge of the farm in the following activities:
- Pilot maintenance and clearing: Take your machete and follow the staff in clearing around the plantations, cut any bad weeds, prune trees, put natural fertilizers, etc.
- Fruit and crop harvesting: Collect the fruits and other crops from the farms. Depending on the crop take it to the kitchen or animal kitchen for their use.
- Plant nursery: Collect different seeds from the forest and plant them in the nursery house to test viability and maintain a bank of saplings for reforestation and rainforest restoration.
- Make chocolate: When cocoa trees are in fruit season collect the fruits and learn how to make chocolate.
- Make coffee: When coffee plants are in fruit season collect the fruits and learn how to make chocolate.
- The production of tropical flowers from the farm for sale in the local market, was the first of its kind in the region and it opened the market for this type of decorative plants in Madre de Dios and in Peru.
- We have successfully reforested 2000 m2 of land with Mahogany trees.
- The short term crops include banana trees, papaya trees, corn, coffee, cocoa trees.
- The woody plants include Mahogany, Cedar, Ironwood tree, Capirona.