History of UNAG

The UNAG (The National Union of Agriculturalists and Ranchers) is dedicated to defend the interests of its affiliated members as well as to promote the situation of small farmers from all parts of the country. UNAG was created in 1981, under the new Sandinista Government, to voice the needs of small-scale producers in Nicaragua, since no other organization had represented their interests before. In its infancy, the UNAG defended the rights of farmers — both individuals and cooperatives — to have access to land, working in close cooperation with the Sandinista government. Cooperative movements were growing in the context of the Agrarian reform and as such, UNAG supported the reforms as well as other Sandinistas programs.

In 1990, however, in the context of national reconciliation, the UNAG redefined its role and became independent from the Sandinista Party's influence and funding. The UNAG played an important role in the reconciliation of Nicaragua with the government of Doña Violeta Barrios de Chamorro en 1990 and participated a lot to the pacification of the country. In the years 1992-1995 the country endured many instabilities due to globalization, the new neo-liberal economy and agrarian conflicts. These crises had a negative impact on the UNAG, which was also dealing with a dysfunctional Board of Directors at the time. Even so, UNAG has managed to adapt its structures to the drastic changes occurring in the country. Since UNAG’s third congress, held in 1997, UNAG has been constantly modernized and its organizational structures consolidated and democratized.

Today, UNAG's main goal is to support small-scale producers regardless of their politics. UNAG’s approach to social and economic issues is also very broad: economic and social democratization, sustainable development, reduction of poverty, and human development are part of UNAG national and local agenda. UNAG is extensive in the scope of its services, providing technical advice and workshops on sustainable growing techniques, nutrition, livestock vaccination, financial security and self-esteem. Although other such organizations exist, such as UCA-Miraflor, which do similar work, UNAG is the only organization recognized by the government and these smaller organizations are usually affiliated in someway with UNAG.