Mucuna Bean (05:21)
Farmers plant the velvet bean throughout Latin America, tripling crop production and saving rain forests. Many farmers plant mucuna with maize, keeping the tropical soil fertile for more than 10 years. Central Maya introduced the bean to Guatemala.
Mucuna and the Rain forest (02:17)
The mucuna reduced the number of farmers burning the rain forest to create new farmland. Many in Guatemala profit from harvesting plants, such as parlor palm. Bean manure from the mucuna is used as an organic fertilizer and weed killer.
Mucuna in Honduras (05:38)
Honduras is a poor country and rural farming communities nearly died out as resident migrated elsewhere. In 1981, World Neighbors introduced the mucuna to rural areas, bringing back farmers and increasing crops production.
Benefits on Mucuna (03:15)
In addition to better soil, mucuna creates other sources of income. For one family, the profit from additional crop yields and selling mucuna bread allowed their daughter to continue her education and become a teacher.
Mucuna and Storm Damage (04:12)
Land distribution is a problem in Honduras. Fields using conventional farming were washed away by Hurricane Mitch in 1998, but fields with organic farming remained.
Mucuna Popularity (02:34)
For a long time, the farming industry was attached to chemical fertilizers and did not look for alternatives. Using mucuna is easier for non-mechanized farmers, so its use has not increased in the United States and Europe. Success in Latin America causes mucuna's popularity in the region to grow.
Mucuna in Brazil (04:06)
Brazilian farmers embrace organic farming and save decaying land with mucuna. They sell organic produce for higher prices. Government officials encourage farmers to abandon conventional farming and pesticides.
Zero Tillage in Brazil (09:03)
Cattle-raising Gauchos receive land on the Brazilian savanna from the government, but conventional farming methods result in little success. Large-scale farms use direct planting to protect the soil and soybeans as bumper crops to enrich the land.
Agroecology in Brazil (07:09)
Over the course of 10 years, the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul went from 20% to 95% of farmers using zero tillage. Local farmers' associations promote and implement sustainable agriculture practices.
Credits: The Magic Bean (00:33)
Credits: The Magic Bean
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