Cosecha de Agua (Water Harvesting)

This project strengthens the food security of 2,500 families and responds to the challenges of climate change and the economic crisis in Nicaragua’s dry corridor. The second phase of the project is intended to systematize and replicate on a larger scale water harvesting and other practices for more efficient use of water resources. In the interest of enhanced implementation efficiency and effectiveness, the participation of the government is reduced and a contribution to a specialized international organization is proposed.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Climate change and environment
Agriculture & food security
Environmental policy
Agricultural water resources
01.11.2018 - 31.12.2022
CHF  7’950’000

Nicaragua is highly vulnerable to climate change. Poor families who depend on agriculture and whose livelihoods are threatened by climate change are more likely to abandon their lands and migrate in search of better opportunities.

In addition, Nicaragua is undergoing a socio-political crisis that has brought serious consequences to the economy and has accelerated migration flows to Costa Rica. Both circumstances are placing the nation’s food security and stability at risk.

This new scenario confirms the pertinence of extending the project for a second phase, adapting the project strategy and addressing the needs arising from this new situation of conflict.

Rainwater collection and harvesting represent an option for small farmers to withstand this situation in better conditions. The second phase of the project adjusts the strategy to the new crisis context, introduces a  conflict-sensitive program management and good governance focus, replicates and scales up the technologies promoted in Phase I, improves their application, and makes adjustments in the implementation modality to ensure greater effectiveness and efficiency.

Objectives The overall goal is to contribute both to the establishment of production systems that are more resilient to climate change and to the improvement of food and nutritional security for 2,500 small- and medium-scale farm families in ten municipalities of the dry corridor of north central Nicaragua while ensuring the adequate systematization of the lessons learned.
Target groups

Direct: 2,500 small- and medium-scale farm families and 5,000 additional persons living in rural areas.

Indirect: Young professionals (men and women) from partner organizations who have been trained in water harvesting, irrigation and ecological agriculture.

Medium-term outcomes
  • Small and medium farmers (male and female) transform and diversify their production systems, expand food production and increase their income by establishing good harvesting practices and efficient water use on their farms.
  • Private sector actors, national and local government institutions, academia and other non-governmental actors use the project’s systematized information and provide high quality technical assistance for systems of water harvesting, irrigation and economic activities linked to the harvested water.

Expected results:  

  • 1,200 water collection systems
  • 5,000 farmers are familiar with at least 10 technologies for water use and management
  • 1,200 farm plans, of which 30% underscore efficient irrigation and articulate the specific needs of women
  • 100 trained technicians are offering high quality technical assistance

Results from previous phases:  

  • 800 families have reservoirs that store rainwater runoff.
  • 600 families use irrigation on a total of 50 hectares and provide water for 4,000 heads of cattle.
  • Families are dedicated to the production of tilapia (40), honey (4) and pork (18).
  • 35% of the farms implement systems for forest management, natural regeneration, reforestation, and agroforestry on 6,000 hectares.
  • Profitable economic activities (honey, tilapia, vegetable production, etc.) provide additional income of up to 800 USD annually, in some cases.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Development cooperation
Project partners Contract partner
Other International Organization
Private sector
  • Other OI
  • Foreign private sector South/East

Coordination with other projects and actors

SDC programmes: Dipilto watershed, family enterprises, professional training

Government initiatives: Cuenca Río Coco

Other cooperation agencies: IFAD, World Bank, European Union

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    7’950’000 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    7’163’334
Project phases Phase 2 01.11.2018 - 31.12.2022   (Current phase) Phase 1 01.02.2013 - 31.12.2018   (Completed)