Nicaragua’s Miskito communities are hit by droughts, storm, floods and hurricanes. To roll back deforestation, restore wild game, and deliver better nutrition for 2,500 children, MASAGNI will use an award to cultivate Maya Nut trees. The nutrition-rich Maya Nut will generate five million pounds of food a year, improving health and local incomes.

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Objectives: 

To establish 120 hectares of Maya Nut “food forests” in 25 Miskito communities, with production potential of 5 million pounds of food per year, worth $3 million per year, and carbon-dioxide sequestration of 125,000 metric tons over 30 years. To improve the nutritional status of at least 2,500 Miskito children. To restore wild game populations (deer, peccaries, tapirs, and fish) and protect 30 miles of rivers from flooding and erosion.

Rationale: 
Miskito communities need healthy rainforests and rivers for food and ecosystem services. Climate change exacerbates droughts, floods, and hurricanes, destroying forests and rivers and compromising agricultural production. Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests (HKHF) creates innovative socioeconomic incentives for communities to establish Maya Nut food forests. Maya Nut is extremely drought resistant, producing nutritious seeds even when other crops fail. Maya Nut forests can produce 50,000 pounds of food per hectare per year with no inputs burning, or tilling.. Maya Nut is a multipurpose crop for humans and a key food source for wildlife. HKHF appeals to rural communities, because Maya Nut forests generate income. This ensures future program expansion.
Innovation / Expected Results: 

HKHF is a new paradigm for climate-change adaptation that motivates rural communities to reforest with a native, nutritious, drought-resistant rainforest tree food. HKHF empowers women, restores ecosystem functions, and stimulates local economies while ensuring long-term regional food security. By targeting schools as the market, HKHF ensures a consistent and reliable local market for Maya Nut products. Once Maya Nut forests are established and human resources are developed by the end of 2011, communities will be able to finance and implement HKHF without outside aid.