Slow Food Presidia with IFAD

In the last 20 years, the Presidia have become one of the projects that successfully embody Slow Food’s vision of food production and biodiversity. It involves 78 countries and more than 15,000 producers in every region of the world, all with the shared goal of preserving the cultures, tastes and agro-diversity of local areas.

In 2017, Slow Food partnered with IFAD to launch a project to empower indigenous youth and their communities, improve the livelihoods of beneficiaries by protecting and promoting their food heritage, and uphold the sustainability and resilience of their practice.

The first component of the project consisted of providing support to five existing Indigenous Slow Food Presidia and creating five new Indigenous Slow Food Presidia, which focused on the following products:

 

  • Honey: its production contributes to the biodiversity and environmental conservation of forests and improving food safety practices. There are three Presidia: Wichí Wild Honey in Argentina (a), Ogiek Honey in Kenya (b) and Nahua Honey in Mexico (c);
  • Waraná and Manioc flour: the first helps in combatting fatigue and in stimulating cognitive functions, while the latter is a staple food of Indigenous Peoples. There are two Presidia in Brazil: Sateré-Mawé Waraná and Kiriri Manioc Flour.
  • Black and the Blue Crabs: protection and sustainable consumption for the first, improved food safety and marketing for the latter. There are two Presidia: Providencia Black Crab in Colombia (a) and Esmeraldas Blue Crab in Ecuador (b).
  • Wild Fruits and Agaveb the first for its production of preserves and dried fruits, the second for its contribution to biodiversity conservation, sustainable environmental management and production of by-products. There are two Presidia: Gran Chaco Wild Fruits in Argentina (a) and Oaxaca Mixteca Agave in Mexico (b).
  • Sheep: re-introduction of the indigenous Red Maasai Sheep for biodiversity conservation and strengthening the resilience of Maasai communities. The Red Maasai Sheep in Kenya.

Slow Food carried out a case study to analyze the progress of these Presidia, in particular Wichí Wild Honey in Argentina and the Red Maasai Sheep in Kenya, both newly established Slow Food Presidia.

The case study was conducted to learn about the enabling factors and the challenges that affected the implementation process and the achievement of results and impacts. It studied significant changes (impacts) in the producers’ lives and in their communities, as well as the prospects of these changes being sustained over time and a number of cross-cutting issues. It is worth mentioning that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic meant the project’s effectiveness at a community level was undoubtedly affected by the global health and economic crisis.

Conclusion …

Today all Presidia interested in the project are managed by Indigenous Peoples and comprise products that have a strong cultural relevance for their identity, represent their local area and are a key element for the food security of the communities involved, directly and/or through income generation. Establishing the Presidia improved the initial economic status of members with better marketing opportunities thanks to improved product quality and food safety and larger production volumes.

The Presidia have helped empower youth, who have become key players, and adults by valorizing their traditional knowledge and enhancing it with new skills and know-how to better address their changing context.

The Presidia help in the key areas of biodiversity and environmental conservation, and economic development. Presidia membership is stable and there is expansion potential across all groups, thanks to the visible benefits generated through the establishment of the Presidia themselves.

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