Advisory Service for Agricultural Production

To date the ASCIM was able to secure about 150,000 hectares of land for the indigenous communities and to participate in the foundation of 14 agricultural colonies. However, some of these communities do not have sufficient land to secure their subsistence on a long-term basis. Therefore, the process of supporting the community negotiations for more land continues. Once the land is secured and the community has obtained its legal capacity, the title is transferred to its name.

Traditionally the Chaco people are hunters and collectors bound up with nature according to the principles of harmony and sustainability. Their economic insurance was based on the diversification of the collected products and the custom to share the food with all relatives.

These principles rule the economic life of the indigenous colonists till now. They are in search of diversification by means of the many modern alternatives: family kitchen-garden, cash crops, small and heavy livestock, work as day-labourers on the farms of their neighbours, work contracts in the branches of cattle raising, construction and various services. The cultural continuity is achieved by family groups who are making use of these diversified opportunities in order to satisfy their common needs, sharing the food with all of its members.

In this context the Agricultural Extension Service (SEAP) of the ASCIM supports the indigenous colonists in their search of feasible options of subsistence as well as in the experimentation and development of same. It concentrates on the cultivation of subsistence crops (such as sweet potatos, squashs, water melons, corn, fruit trees, etc.) are complementing them with some cash crops such as cotton, sesame and beans. Recently sesame is occupying place number one, and the indigenous production of this crop enjoys a good acceptance on the international market. Poultry keeping, goat and sheep breeding, beekeeping, and above all the development of cattle breeding, the column of the modern chaco economy, are promoted.

The organization of the production is adjusted to the preferences of the various ethnic ; groups; there are individual production units, based on groups of relatives or on a community level (pre-cooperative basis). The process is supported by the employment of agricultural advisers, who are training the small farmers in the field, and are giving advice in the community services, such as the operation of machinery, production credits and commercialization.