Always aspiring to more seems to be a premise that is part of the DNA of the inhabitants of the Panama Canal Watershed (PCW). This was demonstrated when on August 21, producers marketed their products at McManus Park in the Clayton community. The moment was also an opportunity to present Agrocuenca: the new association of producers and artisans, with which they seek to improve the sale and profitability of what they produce.
In the PCW, the organized communities apply sustainable production techniques and have adopted the best agro-tourism practices through the Panama Canal Economic Potentialities Program. There, well-preserved soils offer in return a productivity and greenery that increase the wishes of the locals, who integrate all human progress with harmony with nature.
“Everything we bring is organic, direct from the producer to the consumer. We at Agrocuenca take care of the land, take care of the water and take care of the animals,” explains Clementina Martínez, a resident of the community of La Bonga in Capira, for whom activities such as those promoted by the Canal represent a showcase that allows them to improve the quality of their products and handicrafts.
“What we see here is the product of hard work and the training we have received from the technicians of MIDA, MiAMBIENTE and the Panama Canal,” said Jaime Herrera, a native of the community of El Chileno in Capira, while proudly showing the tables of products that he and his colleagues from Agrocuenca and the Union of Farmers of Lake Alhajuela (UCLA), exhibited for sale.
Yucca, coriander, oranges, bananas, lemons, achiote, coffee, honey and handmade spices were part of the offer that could be seen in the different stands. Attendees were able to taste tamales and desserts, as well as purchase handicrafts, medicinal and decorative plants.
The Economic Potentialities program seeks to establish a community organization that represents and organizes the region’s agricultural and handicraft producers to form a marketing network based on the principles of fair trade. In this way, viable economic alternatives are identified and developed for its inhabitants, which are aligned with sustainability and are a source of progress and hope.
Entire families participate in Agrocuenca, most of them members of the organization’s advisory councils, local committees and youth network.
During the fair, producers had the opportunity to talk with attendees about their methods, their raw materials and their environments. With each sale, they explained how, by taking care of their crops and production, they contribute to soil and water conservation, so important for the country and for the Panama Canal.