Science & Tech Helps Bolivian Producers Increase Their Yield By 100%

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Agricultural activity in the Yapacaní area in Santa Cruz region in Bolivia is known for extensive farming and the produce here includes rice, potatoes, yucca, corn and bananas.

Most of the farmers from this area are familiar with the support extended by National Institute for Agricultural and Forestry Innovation (INIAF) that assisted in increasing their yield. The project was further supported for more than five years by World Bank through its PISA – Innovation and Agricultural Services Project and was completed in 2017.

The project helped hundreds of farming families in the area in improving their production yield and also to deal effectively with pests, plant diseases and to also withstand the impact of climate that affected their crops. Subsequently, the project had an overall impact on the farmers’ income.

The farmers participated in many events conducted by the technicians to the farmers about new methods to prepare their lands for effective farming and also to store water. Farmers were also given seeds that were certified by the INIAF which really helped them in improving their production.

Many farmers agree that the seed strengthening certification system developed by the project was in fact one of the most successful components of INIAF. Nationwide, the productivity of the crops was increased by 25 per cent through the use of certified seeds. This was further backed by many scientific innovations that helped the farmers to effectively fight pests which developed tolerance to pathogens resulting in diminishing productivity.

As a result of the project, more and more farmers in the region are using certified seeds the volume of which increased from 1 million since 2012 to over 10 million until 2017. Initially, the certification was just restricted to 210 varieties of medicinal plants and fruits but now it has increased to over 284 varieties. The certification volume has also increased to 119,124 tons as of 2015 from the 78,691 tons of volume back in 2011. As a result, more than 50 percent of the agricultural land uses these certified seeds in Bolivia.

The project worked in partnership with many international centres and managed to develop and introduce more than 10,000 genotypes which the local researchers adapted to different production environments thus helping the farmers to increase their crop yield by 100 percent.

With this, it is clear that such projects contribute a lot to productivity increase in a sustainable way in rural areas and also help in increasing the income of families that depend on agriculture as their main source of income.