Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Recently Launched: A Guide to Scaling Soil and Water Conservation in the Western Highlands of Guatemala

This post is written by Luis Ramirez, Coordinator, Buena Milpa project, CIMMYT.

A Guide to Scaling Soil and Water Conservation in the Western Highlands of Guatemala was written based on findings and lessons learned from action research and scaling efforts led by CIMMYT, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center. This manual suggests new approaches to soil and water conservation in Central America and describes tools and strategies to achieve them.

The new approaches include exploring other soil conservation options besides erosion control, examining the spatial context, examining farming systems as a whole, encouraging active farmer participation, and monitoring and evaluating the effects of the adopted technologies. The Buena Milpa project in Guatemala is presented as a case study that used these approaches, described in three separate boxes showing the scaling of soil conservation practices in the study area, its agricultural innovation system, and its monitoring and evaluation strategies.

This guide can be used as a guide for decision making and technical staff to understand the key issues to consider while planning and implementing soil and water conservation practices in the Highlands of Guatemala. Taking advantage of the experience of researchers, local institutions, and farmers, this guide suggests that more emphasis be directed at improving soil quality rather than capturing soil that has already been eroded. Furthermore, there is a need for new approaches to extension services that stimulate increased agricultural production, contribute to collective action, and foster the emergence of agricultural innovation systems.