GIAHS, is a FAO recognition to some sites around the world, important for the conservation of agricultural biodiversity, of peasant cultural systems and their ingenious responses to global challenges on food security and development. Chiloé, obtained this denomination thanks to the strong agricultural heritage of their communities, and the efforts of a team composed by public, private, and academic organizations. Now GIAHS Chiloé is a permanent initiative and it counts with high peasant communities’ participation and the engagement of many public institutions like MINAGRI through ODEPA. This allows not only preserving the denomination but also transforming it in a powerful development tool. This approach includes the valorization of products and services with cultural identity linked to agroecological production systems, promoting territorial development. A related milestone achieved is the registration and operation of a certification brand GIAHS Chiloé to materialize these advances.
CET- EDUCATION AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER - ChileLead applicant
Development of agroecological research programs. Implementation of training programs for students and technicians. Implementation of territorial development programs with cultural identity
AAOCHILOE - Organic Producers Association of Chiloe. - ChileInitiative partner
Rimisp – Latin American Center for Rural Development - ChileInitiative partner
Founded in 1986, Rimisp – Latin American Center for Rural Development is a regional non-profit organization that conducts applied research in support of institutional change, productive transformation and capacity building of actors and social groups in Latin American rural societies. Its mission is to stimulate institutional, economic and social changes that can make Latin America a prosperous, fair and sustainable region. To this end, Rimisp gives importance to investing in building relationships with a variety of partners, and to networking with them along principles of mutual trust, reciprocity and respect.
Center to Study and Conservation of Natural Heritage - ChileInitiative partner
One of the main drivers for the creation of NGO CECPAN is the conservation of natural resources through stimulation, participation and community development. Driving deepening environmental issues through creative tools links between biodiversity conservation and social development of communities in the archipelago of Chiloe. this NGO is a non-profit organization, doomed to the conservation of natural and patrimonial resources of the island of Chiloé and southern archipelagos. CECPAN promote community social and cultural development, through scientific research, environmental education and sustainable management of renewable resources.
Institute for Agricultural Development - ChileInitiative partner
The institute is defined as a decentralized service that is: promote economic, social and technological development of small farmers and peasants, in order to help increase their business, organizational and commercial skills, integrating the process of rural development while optimizing the use of productive.resources.
Office of Agricultural Policies trade and information - ChileInitiative partner
The Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies -ODEPA-, is a public service dependent of ministry of agricultura. Provides regional, national and international information for different agencies involved in agricultural and forestry activity. Supports the management of the Ministry of Agriculture, MINAGRI, through the studies, and programs evaluation.
Southern University of Chile - ChileInitiative partner
It is an institution of higher education, which places great emphasis on its research programs at regional, national and international level. The institution look out for teaching quality and gets involve in the development of social, cultural and economic aspects of the society. It also seeks to meet the intellectual needs of scholars and students.
The GIAHS initiative in Chiloé promotes and valorizes products and services of local communities, peasant and indigenous, highlighting the major importance of their cultural identity, and their agroecological production systems based on traditional practices. THrough this initiative, the global recognition of Chiloé as one of the first GIAHS sites, has become a real development alternative, engaging a wide diversity of local, national and international actors, including local communities, government agencies, NGO´s, private companies, among many others. With innovative methodologies applied to the management of biodiversity, knowledge systems, local economies and food production, the initiative has strengthened a biocultural diversification development strategy, based on the concepts and the practices of the dynamic conservation, providing the territory of more sustainable alternatives than those offered by the old industrial and extractivist model.
The main innovation developed by the initiative, is the strategy of encouraging biocultural, social and economic diversification, with special care on traditional practices and the cultural identity of the local communities. This means to diversify with a strategic sense on territorial development. The culture is in this scenario, the principal framework in which all the diversity components are linked, establishing virtuous relations between all kinds of socio-environmental elements, for instance, native biodiversity and agricultural biodiversity, goods like local food and handicrafts, tourism services, social actors including peasants, local governments, hotels and others companies, technology and traditional practices and so on. This innovation is relevant, because it allow the improvement of the dynamism and the stability of agro-ecosystems, the local economy, and of the whole territory, granting food security and better development opportunities to local communities.
Chiloé is an Archipelago where over the 50% of population is rural, and it has a strong local culture associated to the management of complex and bio-diversified temperate ecosystems, combining indigenous and peasant heritage. One expression of this culture is an extraordinary cultural landscape that contains a wide biodiversity, ingenious traditional practices, suitable technologies, and many economic activities like agriculture, forestry, gathering, livestock farming and fishery. These components are articulated by the ability of peasant communities to make a sustainable use of their environment, providing both food and environmental services. Nevertheless, in last decades the industrialization of the economy, has introduced several stressors to the agroecological systems, with loss of aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, exploitation and substitution of native forest with xotic species and monoculture, loss of local seeds, and deterioration of the peasants life quality.
The project has made a significant contribution to the territory, positioning indigenous and peasant communities as central actors of the local development, by the following achievements:
The recuperation of local crops and livestock and their associated knowledge, improving agroecological systems and promoting exchange networks of biodiversity between peasants.
Successful training experiences, where technician, academics, professionals and peasants can learn from each other, and where the local knowledge as well as scientific knowledge, are equally recognized.
A large network mobilized to strength family and peasant farming, conformed by public, private and social organizations, and compromised government agencies leaded by ODEPA.
A certification mark “GIAHS Chiloé”, developed to add value into goods and services related to peasant agricultural tradition, also providing strategies to bring together the different actors involved, and encourage innovation and partnerships.
The principal beneficiaries of the project are the peasant families and indigenous communities involved with agroecological production and sustainable valorization of the cultural identity and local biodiversity. In addition, several local companies like, restaurants and tour operators, are beneficed by the certification mark and access to local markets of products and services with added value under a Corporate Territorial Responsability concept.
Despite all efforts, the industrial agriculture promotion and extractive activities in Chiloé has worsened the loss of biodiversity and lack of economic opportunities of rural families. Faced to this, the major need tackled by the project has to do with the availability f networks where they can acquire and exchange the biodiversity and knowledge needed to restore their traditional agroecological systems, and the possibility to economically valorize their heritage and their ultural identity, instead of trying to compete on costs and prices.
The initiative was locally executed by the Education and Technology Center (CET), a NGO specialized in agroecology and rural development, with a 28 years trajectory in Chiloé. The professionals involved in the project were 2 Agronomist, 1 Veterinary and 1 Anthropologist, plus the continuous collaboration of at least 14 leader peasants and 1 chef. Coordinated by CET, they have contributed their experience and capacities in order to engage local communities in the process, working on the field, and executing the project activities. This team demonstrated the ability to innovate and work together in a transdisciplinary perspective. Also important has been the collaboration with government institutions, specially with the Office of Agricultural Policies ODEPA as focal point of the GIAHS global program in Chile, coordinating political and administrative entities, and searching paths to expand this experience to other places in Chile.
The main obstacle of the project, was the difficulty to transform the
GIAHS denomination of Chiloe into a concrete development tool, able to
impulse public policies, community empowerment, and new commercial
partnerships between peasants and others economic actors. To overcome
this obstacle it was important the participation of ODEPA and FAO, and a
long-term work to achieve best practices and demonstrable results on
food production and rural development goals. By this way, other
government institutions got involved in the strengthening of GIAHS in
Chiloé, like the MINAGRI including INDAP (that directly
attend peasants), the Provincial Gobernship of Chiloé, among many
others. Thanks to this work, the main national and regional
authorities are aware about the relevance of these development
alternatives, and now, new supporting programs are being designed and
executed to spread out the lessons of the project, and keep improving
the agroecological and peasant production systems.
Chiloé obtained the GIAHS denomination because the local communities have developed through their history, sustainable strategies to manage biodiversity that allow to conserve and protect the environment, while providing the territory with food and other goods. The denomination through this project is a very important step in order to recognize and disseminate these traditional peasant systems, making evident their contribution on vital environmental services in a world threatened by food scarcity and Climate Change. For example, in the context of the project a group of peasant women developed new varieties of potato adapted to drought, based on native varieties and ancestral knowledge about its reproduction. Otherwise, the GIAHS Chiloé certificate brand recognizes and promotes products and services coming from agroecological systems that maintain globally important biodiversity, and sustainably integrate forest, agriculture and livestock, also avoiding the use of agro-toxics.
The long-term impact and the sustainability of the project are achieved, because strengthening local productive systems and conservation of biocultural diversity, are strong motivators to the engagement of peasant communities, local companies, and consumers in general. The project takes advantage of this interest by using innovative methodologies to establish permanent partnerships between local actors. In this sense, the project has contributed to assemble new local markets able to circulate products and service with cultural identity. This process it’s very positive to improve social and economic development opportunities for the families, organizations and companies, which are fundamental to the continuity of the project. Moreover, the project counts with a network of government and international institutions that support the continuity and scaling up of the project through planning and implementing of tools like the certificate brand GIAHS Chiloé
The project diffusion strategy it’s based on training, exchanges, communications, and partnerships. The training component includes courses workshops and diplomas, where diverse actors (peasants, technicians, adults, young, women, etc.) learn together, the local knowledge is recognized and the peasant leaders act as teachers of this diversified learning community. Workshops are also important to the exchange of seeds, plants, experiences and traditional knowledge, including the transmission of the project innovations. In terms of communications, digital and printed materials were complemented by the participation of peasants in local, national and international fairs and exhibitions, to show their products and the principal results and innovations of the project. Finally, partnerships play a major role in systematization and diffusion through the execution of projects to spread out the initiative. For example, the certificate brand has operated like an efficient spreading tool.