Soil Conservation in Aiquile and Mizque

Erosion and the degradation of fields endanger the income basis of many smallholders and their families in large parts of Bolivia. Water shortage and small yields object the people of the Mizque township to a daily struggle for survival. A third of the children under the age of three suffer from chronic undernourishment. Only about every other community has direct access to potable water. Many men from the Aiquile township work as seasonal workers due to low yield in agriculture. 

Making Soil Conservation Work – Supporting Small Farmers

133 small farmers and their families from seven communities directly benefit from this project. Over the course of the next three years, they want to improve their situation with external support.  

Projected measures to improve agricultural work are, amongst others:

    • Consultation with respect to organic farming and the use of organic fertilizer
    • Improved animal breeding
    • Guidance in seed storage, the construction of stables and disease controlInstallation of greenhouses
    • Support for gatherings, conducting seminars and in the exchange of knowledge
    • Consultation during the realization of marketing opportunities 

    Projected Measures for Soil Conservation:

    • Construction of terraces
    • Local tree nurseries are currently producing more than 30,000 tree and fruit tree seedlings to establish agroforestry businesses in the communities 

    Next to comprehensive consultations and the practical support for the conservation of soil and resources, the church development responsible promotes the technical-scientific and social development of young women from the supported communities. 

    What We Bring About

    “Prior to this project in our community, everybody was working for himself. Through training and the cooperative work we have learned to improve our soil and support one another. We are very grateful to the organization for these effects." Farmer Pablo Mamani Calle from the Tacora community

    Landmarks of Success in the Past Years
    During the first year, the focus was on measures of soil conservation and reforestation to stop the increasing soil erosion. The fertility of the fields decreased over the previous decades, many of them located on very steep slopes. Main causes were overgrazing, deforestation as well as cultivation methods promoting erosion used by the smallfarmers. What is more: The parcels of land keep getting smaller due to a great number of children and the common succession. The result is a great pressure on the men to migrate to neighboring cities. The local organization’s work with these people is now showing its success:

    • Terraces have been laid out and forage grass has been planted. 
    • The production of compost fertilizer and the installation of vegetable patches and water collecting basins for the irrigation of the fields have been promoted.
    • Hundreds of tree seedlings have been planted for reforestation. 
    • The harvest yield of the farmer families involved have steadily increased: potatoes by 30%, rye by 10%, beans 15% and onions by 20%. 
    • By now, 95 smallfarmer families cultivate forage grass on their fields. 
    • More than 6671 acres (2700 ha) of eroding arable land could be regained for agricultural cultivation. 

    Training Courses Are Very Well Attended

    • 80 new families from the project region have been schooled in workshops and through hands-on fieldwork in the basics of sustainable agriculture. 
    • 117 men and 74 women attended a training unit on the production and use of organic fertilizer. 
    • The courses on healthy nutrition provide for example information on the nutrients of specific agricultural products. In courses on alternative medicine made from local medicinal herbs, 31 women and 17 men made ointments and creams from eucalyptus leaves, rosemary and other plants.

    Visiting the fields of farmers at the neighboring communities is part of the training program. The participants share their experiences. The local organization’s consultants know that nothing motivates their clients more than the inspection of the fields and their own expertise.

    Stiftungsrat-Mitglied Dieter Heinen zu Besuch vor Ort

    During his three-week trip to Peru and Bolivia, Foundation Board member Dieter Heinen also visited this project. Read his travel report here

    The Project

    CountryBolivia
    PartnerMisereor
    Target group133 small farmer families from seven communities of the townships Mizque and Aiquile

    The Comparison

    LandGermany
    Expectancy of life66.5 years80,7 Years
    Childhood mortality under the age of 5
    per 1,000 live births
    50.64
    Literacy rate of adults older than 1591.1%n.s.
    Population density (persons per km²)9.3234,6

    Source: World Bank Development Indicators as of June 2013