Rural Farmers of the Trocano Project

The Trocano Project Team visit rural farmers in the project area in July 2022.

Our local project manager, Joaquina Lourenco accompanied by Trocano team member Luana Ferreira recently visited the community of Axinim as part of the team delivering the Stingless Bee Breeding (Meliponiculture) Training Course.  Whilst there, they took the opportunity to get to know the community residents a little better, in particular two of the local rural farmers, to find  out more about their way of life and their views on the importance of bringing such initiatives as Meliponiculture to the project area.

Socorro Soriano is 57 years old, married with 2 children.  She is a former teacher who is now a rural producer with a plantation in the Axinim area.  Socorro grows her crops to guarantee the supply of food for her own family, as well as supporting their livelihood by generating income from selling her crops.

  • Borba Rural Farmer Socorro
  • Trocano team interviewing Socorro

Alfredo da Silva Mariano is 40 years old, married with 3 children and is a rural producer and teacher who has a plantation also in Axinim.  He is the former president of the Axinim Community Farmers Association and was one of the first to sign up for the Bee Breeding course. He plans for his plantation to be large-scale by the end of the year and already sells his products locally as well as in Manaus.

  • Rural Farmer Alfredo in Borba
  • Trocano team interviewing Alfredo

Their plantations crops include Banana, Cassava, Pomegranate, Avocado, Açai, Pineapple, Cupuaçu, Soursop, and Papaya.

The Trocano Team asked “what do you think about the Trocano Project bringing Meliponiculture to your community?”

Socorro:  “I think it’s great because it will help us in every way to increase our production. We plan to plant more this year, and raising the bees is essential for a successful harvest. So the project came at the right time. I thank you, the Project, and God for this support.”

Alfredo:  “For us, this course at Axinim is of paramount importance because we need it. We thank the project for this support. For us who are rural producers, we have to have at least 5 bee breeder boxes in our area. As my plantation will be large-scale, soon planting is essential for a successful harvest.”

Joaquina asked Alfredo the most significant difficulty he faces as a local rural producer.

Alfredo: “The pests of the plantation, because we invested in the plantation and as has happened to me a few times, we prepared everything. Still, the pest came, and we lost everything. Today I have more experience in this situation. At the time, it was very complicated because it compromised almost 100% of our family income.”

  • Rural farmer Socorro and her crops
  • Rural farmer Alfredo at work
  • Smallholding crops in Borba
  • Alfredo on his land in Borba

Joaquina then asked them both about their relationship with the forest and nature.

Socorro:  “The happiness of planting a seed and watching it grow is inexplicable. The best thing for me is that you harvest and feed yourself and still be able to feed other people. I usually say that every seed they put in my hand goes to the underground.

It’s a kind of healing, a therapy. For example, if I wake up sick if I go to my farm and take care of my plants, I’m so focused on what I’m doing that my energy is renewed when I realize my pains are gone.”

Alfredo:  “For me, nature represents feminine energy because, in addition to taking care of herself alone, she takes care of us, keeping the temperature and the pleasant climate. For example, on my farm, the climate is airier, and the night gets cold. That’s why today, as an educator, I am always passing on the awareness of preservation to my students.”

Socorro went on to tell the team about where her interest in plating began.

Socorro: “My mother always liked to plant, and she taught us from an early age. My mother was a single mother and planted to feed my brothers and me, she planted a little bit of everything, and because of that, we never went hungry.”

The Trocano Project Team were pleased to get to know Socorro and Alfredo and find out how the Trocano Project can provide opportunities for them to maintain and improve their livelihoods, and that of their children and the community as a whole.