Unfavorable climatic conditions are among the most important threats to food security for small-scale farmers in the highlands of Bolivia. This includes sub-optimal rainfall distribution, high evapotranspiration rates during the day, low temperatures at night and more than 200 days of frost and hail risk a year in high altitude environments characterized by high topographic, edaphic and climate variability. A great deal of indigenous knowledge accumulated over centuries has permitted the development of local microclimate adaptation strategies and technologies. Producers’ crop and landscape management strategies are being overwhelmed and undermined as new pests and diseases emerge, and greater pressures on soil and water resources are created by climate change, population growth and market participation conditions. Climate change is exacerbating further the vulnerability of those already fragile ecosystems and production conditions. Food security, nutrition, income flows and the continuous viability of natural resources are all jeopardized in the process.
The project seeks to develop, test and diffuse technological innovations that permit reducing the vulnerability of families in Bolivia’s Central and Northern altiplano whose cropping systems are anchored in potato and quinoa production.
The project’s specific objectives are:
1) to produce quinoa and potato varieties and high quality seed to improve productivity and reduce household vulnerability;
2) develop integrated quinoa and potato crop management strategies, including soil fertility and pest and disease management;
3) to strengthen the farmer households’ adaptation and vulnerability reduction strategies; and
4) to strengthen capacities for both research and technology diffusion. The project will be led by PROINPA, the leading agriculture research organization in Bolivia and supported by Brigham Young University (BYU).
Outputs and Outcomes:
Four quinoa and potato varieties selected for early maturity, market acceptance, home consumption acceptance, yield potential, and seed made available for farmers.
Genetic research to identify genes for potato drought resistance.
Integrated crop and pest management technologies for potato and quinoa.
Evaluation and wide diffusion of machinery for quinoa sowing, harvesting and winnowing to complete work initiated in previous funding phase.
Establishment of farmer organizations to commercialize quinoa- and potato-based processed goods.
Sustainable agriculture college degree education for more than 12 students, as well as on-the-job, hands-on training on quinoa and potato technology for over 100 agricultural extension agents and farmers.