Monday, September 22, 2014

An Innovative Solution to Drought in Nicaragua: Eat Iguana Meat

From National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
As the worst drought in over three decades is taking its toll on families and communities throughout the “Dry Corridor” of Central America, the World Food Programme (WFP) is working with the governments of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua to provide food assistance to several million people through an effort that combines resources from Canada, Brazil and Australia, as well as donations of rice and beans from Japan and Ethiopia, 

The emergency conditions in the Dry Corridor, which scientists say are the result of climate change, have prompted the governments of Guatemala and Honduras to declare a state of emergency for the region. The drought is having an especially devastating effect on Guatemala.

Wikimedia Commons (Rob Young)
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega's administration is holding off on an emergency declaration for now, even thought Nicaragua is still receiving large amounts of food from WFP.  “In this country we do not have a social crisis, what we do have is a drought affecting the dry corridor, which is made up of fewer than 100 municipalities. However, in most of those places it is raining and production is taking place," said the  Read more from Benjamin Witte-Lebhar in this week's issue of NotiCen.

Each of the four countries is attempting to cope with the situation in different ways. The Ortega administration, for example, is urging residents who live in the dry areas of Nicaragua to eat more iguanas.  According to  Guillermo Membreño, director the governmental Department of Land Management, iguana meat has a higher protein content than chicken.  The problem is that the hunting of iguanas in the wild is prohibited in Nicaragua during the first four months of the year. Membreño's solution is for residents in the dry areas to set up iguana farms. Any iguanas raised at the farms do not have the same protections as the iguanas found in the wild.

The drought has created a difficult situation for families in this region of Central America. “Some families resort to dangerous survival tactics, such as skipping meals. Others simply stop sending their children to school to save money. Others send the head of households to Mexico or the United States to find jobs," said the WFP.

Environmental activists from around the globe are hoping the UN Climate Summit in New York City on Sept. 27 will address the impact of climate change on agriculture, especially in poor regions like the Dry Corridor in Central America.

-Jake Sandler

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