[fsf60k] Fwd: Nicaragua Network Hotline--December 22, 2009

check the article on drought resistant beans..
very interesting
happy holidays all
mc

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> From: Nicaragua Network <nicanet@xxxxxxxx>
> Date: December 23, 2009 12:36:44 PM EST
> To: ikecip@xxxxxxx
> Subject: Nicaragua Network Hotline--December 22, 2009
> Reply-To: kathy@xxxxxxxx
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>   Nicaragua Network Hotline   
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> www.nicanet.org
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> 
>    December 22, 2009
> 1. ALBA successes enumerated
> 2. Latest poll shows lack of confidence in government institutions but 
> support for social programs
> 3. Extreme poverty decreased
> 4. Project Love has rescued more than 12,000 children
> 5. Government develops bean resistant to drought 
> 
> Topic 1: ALBA successes enumerated 
> 
> Rafael Paniagua, general manager of ALBA of Nicaragua, S.A. (ALBANISA), which 
> supervises many of the projects of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of 
> Our America (ALBA) in Nicaragua, reported that the nine ALBA projects in 
> Nicaragua have benefited more than 3.97 million people and  generated 
> directly or indirectly 134,000 jobs. In two years ALBA has added 290 
> megawatts of daily  electricity generation, 57 % of the country's needs, 
> which ended the daily blackouts in the country. That was followed by four 
> more electricity producing plants. 
> 
> "ALBA has done what has not been done in Nicaragua in a century," Paniagua 
> said, adding, "ALBA has produced results and that's why they throw stones at 
> us." He went on to list the subsidy to public transportation noting, "The 
> price [of a Managua bus ride] should be between US$0.30 and US$0.35," but is 
> only US$0.13. Two million passengers daily benefit from this subsidy. "The 
> aid from ALBA does get to the people," he stated. He was reacting to reports 
> by the conservative newspaper La Prensa which claimed that ALBA has only 
> benefitted President Daniel Ortega and his inner circle of economic 
> interests. La Prensa wrote, "President Ortega became the cattle king of 
> Nicaragua," professing dismay that the ALBA Group companies are not state 
> entities but rather private corporations. Given the way the three neoliberal 
> governments that followed the 1990 Sandinista electoral defeat dismantled 
> Sandinista programs that favored the poor majority, it is logical that the 
> ALBA cooperative trade programs are being administered through corporations 
> that will not be affected by a future change in government. 
> 
> Antonio Jose Contreras, vice-president of ALBA Foods of Nicaragua 
> (ALBALINISA), noted that more than 22,000 small and medium scale farmers have 
> benefited by the export of their products worth more than US$123 million to 
> Venezuela. These products, including 16,000 tons of meat, more than 3,000 
> tons of black beans, more than 15,000 tons of milk, 6,000 head of cattle, and 
> 5,673 tons of coffee during the previous 18 months. The National Rice Program 
> purchased for export US$6.9 million in rice. For next year, ALBA companies 
> expect to invest around US$130 million in two milk processing plants (one in 
> Chontales and the other in Matagalpa), two industrial slaughter houses and a 
> plant to produce corn flour. 
> 
> Topic 2: Latest poll shows lack of confidence in government institutions but 
> support for social programs 
> 
> More than half of Nicaraguans recognize the efforts of the government of 
> President Daniel Ortega to improve health services and education in the 
> country but do not see progress in other areas. This is according to an M&R 
> Consultants poll of 1,600 Nicaraguans conducted between Nov. 27 and Dec. 5 in 
> all 16 departments and the two autonomous regions. Only four in ten people 
> approved of the overall performance of the Ortega government but 52.1% 
> thought that the quality of and access to education had improved and 51% said 
> that health services were better in the nation's hospitals and health 
> centers. 
> 
> The Sandinista Party (FSLN) continues to be the largest party with 32.3% 
> identifying themselves as  Sandinistas; 12.1% identified with the 
> Constitutional Liberal Party (PLC), while 6.4% were followers of the "Let's 
> Go with Eduardo" Movement (MVE) of Eduardo Montealegre, and 1.7% supported 
> the Sandinista Renovation Movement (MRS) while only 0.4% support the National 
> Liberal Alliance (ALN). No party preference was claimed by 46.8%, down 
> substantially from September, when 54.1% said they were independents. All of 
> the major parties grew in the percentage of people who identified with them 
> with the PLC growing the most: from 8.5% to 12.1%. The number who identified 
> with the FSLN grew by 2%. 
> 
> A high 65.1% disapproved of the performance of the National Assembly while 
> only 13.9% approved.  A similar number, 62.7%, were of the opinion that the 
> Supreme Court responded to political interests. A 78.9% majority thought the 
> law should be changed to mandate that a candidate win 50% plus one in the 
> popular vote to be elected president on the first round. And 62.7% 
> disapproved of the performance of the magistrates of the Supreme Electoral 
> Council while 58.6% said they believed the municipal elections of 2008 were 
> not transparent. 
> 
> The Nicaraguan Army came out on top in the favorable performance ratings with 
> 81.6%; 65.4% saw the Catholic Church favorably; 61.8% viewed the 
> communications media favorably; 55.9% rated the  National Police favorably; 
> the evangelical churches rated 54.8% favorable; and non-governmental 
> organizations 52.4% favorable. The Superior Council on Private Enterprise at 
> 27.9% favorable and the Nicaraguan-American Chamber of Commerce at 23.8%, 
> trailed other institutions. 
> 
> When asked about opposition leaders, 33.8% saw Eduardo Montealegre as the top 
> leader of the opposition, up by 8.9 percentage points from a September poll. 
> Arnoldo Aleman, leader of the PLC,  however, saw a drop of two points to 
> 22.4%. Montealegre was stronger with younger people in urban and semi-rural 
> areas while Aleman was stronger with older people and in rural areas. Women 
> preferred Montealegre while men liked Aleman. 
> 
> Topic 3: Extreme poverty decreased 
> 
> The rates of unemployment and extreme poverty have diminished significantly 
> according to the Continuing Household Survey conducted by the National 
> Institute of Information and Development (INIDE) in July through September of 
> this year. The survey included 7,500 urban and rural households and was 
> compiled with the assistance of the United Nations Economic Commission for 
> Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). 
> 
> Those living in extreme poverty have decreased from 35.7% of the population 
> in 2005 to 28.5% in 2009, a decrease of 7.2%. The methodology applied to 
> study the index of extreme poverty measured "unsatisfied basic needs" such as 
> overcrowded housing, lack of basic services, low education, inadequate 
> housing and economic dependency. Extreme poverty was reduced by 4.9% in 
> Managua and 5.2% in other urban areas, but the major decrease in extreme 
> poverty took place in rural areas where the reduction was 9.9%. Preliminary 
> unemployment results indicated a national level of 7.5 %; 11.1% in Managua, 
> 8.9% urban, and 3.7% rural. Armando Rodríguez Serrano, director of INIDE, 
> said that the unemployment rate drops significantly during the harvest 
> seasons and rises at other times of the year. The survey evidently did not 
> include underemployment, apparently counting those in the informal sector as 
> being employed. 
> 
> Rodriguez said the decrease in extreme poverty is attributable to the social 
> programs of the Sandinista government since January 2007. He cited as 
> examples, Zero Usury, Zero Hunger, Plan Roofing, free education, and others. 
> While the government has made major inroads into three of the five 
> measurements of extreme poverty, household overcrowding and access to basic 
> services did not show a significant drop. As during the first Sandinista 
> government of the 1980s, government programs are focused on improving the lot 
> of rural residents, in part to slow migration to the cities. This is perhaps 
> a reason that the political class, concentrated in Managua, does not 
> recognize the effect of Sandinista government poverty reduction programs. 
> 
> Topic 4: Project Love has rescued more than 12,000 children 
> 
> Vice Minister of the Family, Adolescents and Children (MIFAMILIA) Marcia 
> Ramirez, reported that the Government of President Daniel Ortega through 
> Project Love has rescued 12,000 at-risk children and integrated them into the 
> school system. Ramirez said they've "restored the right to a name" to 2,000 
> children to whom they have issued birth certificates. She also reported that 
> 5,000 children were cared for in Child Development Centers and another 87,000 
> in 76 Community Child Centers nationwide. Of the 3,000 children in the child 
> protection centers of Project Love, one thousand have returned to their own 
> family or been placed with a foster family. MIFAMILIA also is working to 
> expand the services at the child protection centers so that those 
> institutions can help other at-risk children during the day. 
> 
> Ramirez said that in 2010 MIFAMILIA plans to rescue 25,000 at-risk children. 
> "We are going to add attention to high risk children in [Managua's] Eastern 
> Market who have been abandoned and become addicts. We'll coordinate with 
> organizations that specialize in drug treatment and other organizations that 
> provide vocational training," he said. The existing Child Development Center 
> at Eastern Market will be improved and a new one built. 
> 
> In answer to criticism that Project Love is only "an intention to have a 
> program" because there are still children selling mangos at street lights, 
> Ramirez pointed out that children cannot be removed from the streets by 
> decree. She noted the achievement of 10,000 street children returning to 
> school. The day following Ramirez' report, the Inter-American Development 
> Bank announced a US$15 million loan for MIFAMILIA programs. 
> 
> Topic 5: Government develops bean resistant to drought 
> 
> The Sandinista government's Nicaraguan Institute of Agricultural Technology 
> (INTA), has developed a new variety of drought resistant red bean, named INTA 
> SSAN Drought. The bean was developed by crossing varieties that tolerated 
> drought and high temperatures. It has been tested on farms in areas of low 
> rainfall and with poor soils, yielding 30% more than beans currently used. It 
> is also resistant to several common plant diseases and stands erect so that 
> the pods do not come in contact with the ground. In taste and preparation 
> tests it was accepted by the producing families for its rapid cooking, 
> flavor, color and thickness of broth. 
> 
> El INTA SSAN Drought was released Dec. 16 during an event with 200 national 
> and local government officials, international aid groups, seed cooperatives, 
> agricultural extension workers, and farmers in the department of Masaya. It 
> is one of the projects of the government of President Daniel Ortega to 
> guarantee food security for Nicaraguans. Most of Nicaragua's beans are grown 
> by small farmers. Annually Nicaraguans consume 55 pounds of beans per person, 
> making them a major part of their diet. Nicaraguan beans are also now 
> exported to the other countries of Central America, to the United States and 
> to South America unlike previously when domestic production was less than 
> consumption. 
> 
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