Bolivia is one of the centers of domestication of wild peanuts, and it has a wide selection of varieties cultivated by small farmers. Until recently, all Bolivian peanut production was consumed domestically. In 2007 farmers initiated the transition to organic peanut production under FDTA. To be able to export, however, FDTA had to ensure that export quality peanuts met European safety standards regarding aflatoxins, natural substances that are toxic and highly carcinogenic. During growth and storage peanuts are susceptible to contamination by the mold fungus Aspergillus that releases aflatoxins. FDTA works with 9 farmer organization (for a total of 630 farmers) in the valleys around Cochabamba, Bolivia.
Given that the European Union requires High Pressure Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) tests as part of the process of commodity certification for peanuts, FDTA will continue strengthening the research and service delivery capacity of the Bolivian laboratory it worked with in phase 1 for the accurate determination of aflatoxin levels. The goal is for the Bolivian laboratory to obtain international accreditation. FDTA is also promoting the training of laboratory technicians under the auspices of the USAID-funded Peanut CRSP.
FDTA will also look to develop the national and international market of a few selected crops that are part of the peanut crop rotation system and have market potential. The goal is to avoid promoting the mono-cropping of peanuts while expanding the income opportunities and stability of trade exchanges.
Reduce subsidization of the processes of technical assistance, commercialization and management of producer organizations’ agribusinesses.
Consolidate peanut aflatoxin detection services and quality control systems, and monitor the incidence of aflatoxins in urban and rural family diets.
Significantly increase export processes for organic and specialty peanut to the European Union.
Develop strategies to increase the participation of Bolivian peanut and their value-added products in the domestic market.
Look for new market opportunities for other crops in the rotation.
Outputs and Outcomes:
In addition to training farmers on best practices for peanut production, harvest and storage, FDTA facilitated training of technicians of a university laboratory (Centro de Alimentos y Productos Naturales of San Simon University), so they could monitor aflatoxin contamination levels. No previous aflatoxin monitoring capacity existed in Bolivia.
FDTA also worked with 5 organizations of peanut producers (462 farmers) and strengthened their capacity to produce high quality peanuts, negotiate with export companies and gradually become self-sustaining enterprises.
With FDTA support, 462 farmers (47% being organic farmers and the rest farmers in transition) produced 279 tons of peanuts. Out of those, 59 tons of organic peanuts have been exported to the European Union. Each participating household received an average of $922 per year from the production and sale of peanuts.