The foundation of the HFM is a mix of group workshops and individual meetings, in order for the field staff to implement solutions that address ecological, economic, or social shortages equally within communities. This provides farmers with the ability to own and manage their own interventions while always being able to fall back on either the community or EF field coordinators if questions or problems arise.
After the specifics of the HFM have been set together with the farmer and if need be, EF seeks out additional funding either from the local government, our members or other active NGOs in the region. Overall it takes around 1.5 months to set up HFM plans for a group of two dozen farmers, depending on local circumstances.
Most recently for example the HFM approach was implemented In the Tocache province, department of San Martin where EF identified a 60,000 ha area of High Conservation Value (HCV) and High Carbon Stock (HCS) land. The local farming community is a key actor for the conservation of these areas. EF has started an awareness process with groups of farmers who have HCV land on their farms to motivate them to conserve these areas. Most farmers expressed an interest in conserving the land, but there was a need for an incentive system that can reinforce conservation efforts and at the same time strengthen the resilience of farming families.
Against this background, EF together with 3 farmer cooperatives from the Tocache province have designed a HFM project to promote the raising of guinea pigs as a mechanism to motivate conservation and strengthen family resilience. The project was prioritized by EF and the cooperative because guinea pigs are species with high demand in the Peruvian market, however, local farming systems are not very efficient. This project is expected to increase and diversify farmers' incomes, as well as decrease the need to expand their crops and therefore decrease the risks of deforestation on their farms. This leads to a more holistic system being utilized since the farmer’s income dependence on a single crop is being reduced, while at the same time diversifying land usage and actively protecting and managing HCV land. Because of this incentive system 50 farming families have committed to the HFM plan already and a further 60 have already heard about it and are eager to implement a similar program.