“Among the species that inhabit the 19,000 hectares that make up the Fortuna Forest Reserve, the Central American tapir Baird stands out. This animal, whose presence we can find from Mexico to the coast of Ecuador, is also known by the locals as “macho del monte”, and is very representative of the area.”
Tapirs are herbivores, and their elongated snout allows them to pluck leaves, herbs and roots. The reserve also houses the natural predator of the tapir, the jaguar, which helps preserving the ecosystem’s balance by controlling the population of herbivores.
A harmonious coexistence
Fortuna, the largest hydroelectric plant in Panama with 300 MW of capacity and operated by Enel Green Power, is located in this mystical kingdom of the tapir and the jaguar.
Enel Green Power, aware of the need to develop sustainability programs that contribute to the benefit of all the communities that coexist with this natural legacy, has developed a successful program of home cultivation.
“Since 2005 EGP has contributed to the sustenance and food safety of about 65 families without affecting the natural habitat.”
As part of this program, participants receive seeds, technical training and follow-up to the process of cultivating their gardens, as well as assistance for the sale of their products in the market: beans, corn, cucumbers, carrots, chili and tomato. This initiative allows them to generate economic benefits through low-impact costs.
The long-term equilibrium
This program trains five families per year. In the 2015 and 2016 editions, we worked with nine family farms in the communities of Entre Ríos, Valle La Mina, Chimenea and Lavadero, neighbors to Fortuna Hydroelectric Power Plant.
“In 2017, the program has expanded to Madre Vieja and San Juan, neighboring communities to other Enel Green Power plants, the photovoltaic Sol Real and Sol de David, also in the province of Chiriqui.”
Family farms are an excellent example of a sustainable project, as they achieve a balance between the use of the resources of the area, while keeping the system as a whole diverse and productive over time.
In addition to the food safety and new capacities obtained during the process, participating families have achieved an average income of 218 USD per year thanks to these crops.