Prior to our intervention, farmers were earning just £100 per month from their smallholdings — barely enough to cover basic needs, leaving them vulnerable to crisis in the event of harvest failure or family health problems. The ‘slash and burn’ agriculture locked them into this continuing cycle of poverty whilst also systematically destroying precious rainforest habitat.

Our unique way of working begins at grassroots. We empower farmers to break the cycle themselves and ultimately our goal is to enable them to become self-sufficient within 5 years by helping navigate the challenges preventing them from returning to sustainable farming. We’re doing this by introducing an ‘agroforestry system’ into their land: a combination of growing both long-term (trees) and short-term (crops) produce.

We use your donations to meet the upfront costs of planting and maintenance, and provide ongoing technical support to ensure that the trees and crops planted continue to thrive. For example, training includes how to manage pests and diseases, and effectively prune and graft trees.

Sustainable Agroforestry

Plant Your Future’s work helps farmers transform deforested and degraded land into productive agroforestry systems. Put simply, agroforestry combines agriculture with forestry. Native fruit and timber trees are planted alongside short-term crops.

Our support also means farmers can access formal markets to achieve fairer prices through the sale of high quality fruits. Until recently, each farmer has worked individually, selling either to intermediaries or on a market stall in Iquitos or Pucallpa. This meant wasted time and low bargaining power with buyers — especially as they were selling such small amounts. But Plant Your Future are providing the funding, logistical and legal support to farmers in Loreto and Ucayali to build their business skills. In Ucayali we’re working with farmers to help them strengthen their farmers association, APACAMP. This means they can aggregate the crops they produce from their small farms, set up contracts and supply larger amounts to buyers. Prices are more stable and normally higher in a known market where less time wasted.

Plant your Future … has achieved an important milestone for the Peruvian Amazon. This innovation offers the possibility to restore thousands of deforested areas in the Amazon, provide income and food security for vulnerable smallholders, and contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. We are positive that the scaling-up of this project will deliver all these benefits for local people, climate and biodiversity.

Manuel Mavila, Regional Technical Coordinator, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)