Bio-inputs of all kinds, including “bioles” (organic liquid fertilizers) have become popular among ecologically oriented NGOs and farmers in the Andes. Many CCRP-funded organizations have promoted, investigated, or used bioles and other liquid amendments. Interest is growing among agroecology science, practice, and movement communities for more rigorous learning and information about what bioles are, what conditions lead to different results, and how they work. Farmers need to understand how bioles perform in combination with practices such as green manure, erosion control, and soil amendments. The biology and chemistry of bioles present various intriguing scientific and practical issues.
The use of bioles is commonly advocated among agroecology practitioners in Latin America and, increasingly, around the world. Their use may improve productivity by providing nutrients and reducing pest damage, and is often offered as proof that a farm is agroecological. The CCRP has funded projects in the past and currently that have conducted research on bioles as a tangential activity, but the existing practices are diverse, findings related to bioles are ambiguous, and farmers’ practices and perspectives are equivocal. There is a need for greater clarity and coherence in the evidence base that could support decision-making regarding bioles.
The CCRP leadership and grantees from the Andes discussed the importance of having consolidated learning around this topic before proceeding with further research activities. The wider project team was selected from five strong applications because of the mix of stakeholders and methods. This particular proposal is intended to support the component led by Dr. Brendan O’Neill, a soil scientist with experience in Latin America, who is qualified to review the formal literature. The formal literature review component of the project will complement the part conducted in the region.
Bring together existing knowledge on liquid biofertilizers in a meta-analysis, featuring a detailed typology of the characterization of liquid bio-inputs, their formulation and use in different contexts. This knowledge will be used to better inform their practical use in the Andes, but also to identify pressing areas for basic and/or applied research.
Outputs and Outcomes:
Output: A review of global research on liquid organic inputs. This will be done through a systematic and exhaustive bibliographic review of academic research. The team will categorize the nature of these inputs, including raw materials, preparation/ fermentation methods, chemical and microbiological composition, the purpose and objectives of their use, and observed results of the application of the different preparations under different conditions.
Both outputs of the joint project will contribute to:
A report in Spanish and English of the study’s results
A policy brief for decision makers
A synthesis report for farmers
A scientific publication
Events with key interest groups in Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia to present and discuss the findings
An updated and virtual multi-player platform to keep stakeholders in contact and continue complementing the analysis
This process will strengthen links among researchers and scientists, NGOs, and practitioners, which will facilitate future research and outreach into bio-inputs and related practices. It will also help train future professionals through involvement of student researchers.
Creation and dissemination of this knowledge related to liquid bio-inputs will strengthen among between communities and practitioners in the agroecological regions of the high Andes, and strengthen sharing of knowledge and experience into the future.