Hillside Soil

Lead Organization:

The Foundation for the Promotion and Investigation of Andean Products PROINPA

Partner Organizations:

Alcadia, Sindicato de Taracuchu y Tijraska, Centro de investigacion de Forrajes, Consejo de Desarrollo Municipal de Anzaldo (CODEMA), Centro de Investigacion, Formacion y Extension en Mecanizacion Agricola (CIFEMA)

Community of Practice:







1st Phase:
The CCRP Andes commissioned a study in 2012 to assess the state of the art of soil research in the Andes and to identify gaps in knowledge.  The proposal seeks to address soil fertility issues through soil microbiology, one of the areas that the report identified as needing more research and development investment.  This grant review is for the inception period of a proposal by PROINPA that aims to work in the hillsides of the Anzaldo municipality, North of Cochabamba, Bolivia. Anzaldo farmers grow potatoes, wheat and maize, as well as small quantities of beans, peas, barley, vegetables and fruits. Agriculture in Anzaldo is characterized by low productivity, especially due to an inadequate management of soils, drought and a lack of agro-ecological management strategies.  The project seeks to work in the Anzaldo municipality as it is considered the representative of the production conditions and poverty of 35 municipalities in the departments of Cochabamba, Chuquisaca, Potosi and La Paz. The goal is to develop technologies and approaches that ultimately will be useful for all of those municipalities. The project proposes to carry out a broad and ambitious spectrum of research and development activities that involve three crops (potato, wheat and pea), include commercialization of new bio-inputs and crop varieties, and require working with farmers and municipal authorities. Much of the inception period, therefore, will be dedicated to a better understanding of the local conditions and opportunities, in close consultation with farming communities, which will result in identification of a smaller set of high-priority areas for implementation in the full project.

2nd Phase:
This project’s overall purpose is to help producer families in Anzaldo, Cochabamba, Bolivia, improve the resilience of their productive systems and livelihoods through participatory development of technological innovations that contribute to the restoration of soil health in Anzaldo.  The CCRP approved the inception phase of this project one year ago, which has allowed PROINPA to adjust and refine the project’s scope, objectives and approaches based on exploratory biophysical and socio-economic research in the area. This project will help to test hypotheses about how change occur in communities and spreads through networks. The results of this research, how farmers use and adapt soil fertility practices, will be informative and applicable to many areas and projects that aim to improve soil fertility through applied science.


Grant Aims:

  • Validate in various contexts preliminary cover crop combinations that were chosen by farmers: vetch with oats and peas with barley
  • Establish local seed supply system for vetch cover crop
  • Reduced tillage evaluated in a participatory mannerInsertion of the quinoa crop in the traditional rotation system
  • Quinoa seed production system in non-traditional regions
  • Animal-drawn implement for the planting of quinoa and other grains (validated with CIFEMA)Strengthening of soil laboratory capacity at both the local and national level.

Outputs and Outcomes:

  • Drought tolerant and early pea varieties distributed and accompanying rhizobia validated.
  • Successful bio-input businesses (both for institutions like PROINPA and community run ones) improve livelihoods and access to bio-inputs.
  • The municipal authorities have issued ordinances promoting the use of bio-inputs and practices of soil health and food production management.
  • The Operative Annual Plans of the Anzaldo municipality include economic resources to promote the use of bio-inputs and management practices of soil health and sustainable food production.
  • 100 Anzaldo families produce and commercialize bio-inputs for the management of soil health and sustainable food production.
  • 1500 Anzaldo families use bio-inputs to manage soil health and sustainable food production.
  • 4000 ha for food production using bio-inputs produced by local Anzaldo farmers (1500 direct and 2500 indirect).
  • Through the use of the bio-inputs developed by the project (bio-inoculants, humus pellets in wheat seed) soil fertility will increase by 20% the productivity of crops in the target region, improving incomes in a 15%.
  • Generate new knowledge on micro-organisms biodiversity in hillside zones and their characteristics associated to soil health and food production.
  • Identify efficient micro-organisms that help to improve soil health and food production.
  • Develop economic and socially accepted bio-inputs (products) based on local and efficient microorganisms to improve soil health and food production.
  • Validate and diffuse bio-inputs to improve soil health and food production.
  • Increase soil microbial population in such a way that improves health and fertility.
  • Increase food production (potato, wheat and pea) through the use of management alternatives based on micro-organisms.
  • Strengthen collective action of families, communities and municipal authorities of Anzaldo on soil health and food production.
  • Build participatory mechanisms for sustainable use of bio-inputs and management practices on soil health and food production.
  • Promote local production (familiar, community or municipal) of bio-inputs that optimizes soil health and a better impact on food production.