A loan of $8,000 helped to pay for plantain seed, fertilizer, tools, and technical assistance.

Arimae Community's story

Arimae is an 800-person Emberá and Wounaan indigenous community in Panama’s Darien province. The community has been working with Planting Empowerment for more than six years to manage their land more sustainably and profitably. They will use the $8,000 loan to buy plantain seed stock and pay for their planting, maintenance, and harvest. With the proceeds from the plantain harvests they will finance community development projects and support legal efforts to secure their reservation.

Liriano lives with his wife and daughter in Arimae, and is part of one of the founding families of the community. He has been working for Planting Empowerment since the company formed, and currently manages the day-to-day maintenance of 25 hectares of agroforestry projects. He is currently studying to receive his professional Forester's degree from the University of Panama in the Darien. Liriano expects to become Planting Empowerment’s Head Forester when he finishes school.

The residents of Arimae are ancestors of the Chocó people who migrated from the Chocó region of Colombia during the 16th century, and subsisted for generations as hunter-gatherers and fishermen. Today, the community members depend mostly on subsistence agriculture and day labor to put food on the table. Arimae is part of a network of indigenous reservations that once stretched for hundreds of thousands of hectares in the Darien. Over the past 30 years however, their land holdings have declined sharply as illegal logger and cattle ranchers encroach into their reservation in search of timber and pastureland.

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