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Doña Marlene and Don Ramiro: inspiring change in Nicaragua

Don Ramiro and Doña Marlene with their family

A smile cuts through Don Ramiro´s stern face as he sits on the porch of his small farm in Siuna, in the North East of Nicaragua, and he tells us about the many activities he is engaged in through the Oxfam project PRODER. Don Ramiro is not only a member of a milk and cheese cooperative together with his wife Doña Marlene, he is also a promoter of silvopastoral cattle grazing techniques in the programme “Campesino a Campesino” (Farmer to Farmer). He advises other farmers in Siuna on how to integrate cattle grazing with forestry, improving the quality of the milk he produces while strengthening the ecosystem they live in.  If before, using traditional methods they would produce between 3/3.5 litres of milk per cow, now their production has gone up to almost 7 litres per cow.

Doña Marlene shows us around the farm, they have now 12 cows and send their milk every morning to the cooperative cheese factory a few miles along the road. “Changing the cattle grazing techniques, uniting with other farmers in our community through a cooperative has allowed us to improve our finances” with pride in her eyes Doña Marlene continues “this year I managed to finish high school, while our daughter is in her last year of university studying to be an accountant!”.

Doña Marlene and her family live in one of the poorest and remotest areas of Nicaragua, yet despite these challenges and with Oxfam´s support, they have been able to increase significantly their income and improve the family´s wellbeing. Marlene and Ramiro´s farm may look like any other farm in the region, or even in the world.  Yet I feel it is a special place. This farm reminded me that another world is possible, that men and women can step out of poverty while protecting the environment and asserting their dignity.

Riccardo D'Emidio is Oxfam's Regional Media and Communications Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Riccardo D’Emidio is Oxfam’s Regional Media and Communications Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean.


Oxfam´s project PRODER has been working now for 5 years with different cooperatives, working at different levels of the food supply chain and enabling them to build a sustainable livelihood while respecting their ecosystem.

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