BOLIVIA - An agreement signed recently between the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the government of Bolivia will help 30,000 poor rural families in the Bolivian High Plateau increase their incomes from camelid (llamas and alpacas) farming and related economic activities.
The new programme builds on previous joint initiatives between the government and IFAD, the UN agency specialised in rural development, and represents a total investment of US $38.7 million, of which $17.8 million will be provided by IFAD.
“The role that llamas and alpacas play in the social and economic welfare of the population living on the Bolivian High Plateau is undeniable,” said Jaana Keitaanranta, IFAD’s Country Programme Manager for Bolivia.
“It has been part of the country’s culture and history for centuries and IFAD’s experience in Bolivia over the last few years proves that well-planned investments in this sector can play a key role in lifting people out of poverty.”
Between 2006 and 2016, the IFAD-supported Proyecto VALE helped 16,000 poor rural families increase their incomes from camelid farming through better management practices and the creation of valued-added products from meat, fibre and hides. This successful experience prompted IFAD and the Bolivian government to scale up the initiative.
Now, the Integral Strengthening Programme for the Camelid Value Chain in the Bolivian High Plateau, also known as “Pro-Camelids,” will expand the scope of its predecessor, reaching 47 municipalities in three Bolivian departments: La Paz, Oruro and Potosi.
The territory covered is home to 67 per cent of the two million camelids that are currently raised in the country. The programme will be implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development and Lands (MDRyT, by its Spanish acronym) with IFAD’s advice and supervision.
The 30,000 families who are to benefit from the programme are composed of rural small-scale producers, artisans and other rural micro entrepreneurs such as butchers, weavers and sellers, the majority of whom are women, youth and indigenous peoples who live in poverty or extreme poverty and experience food insecurity.
The programme’s aim is to help camelid farmers overcome challenges and obstacles in two specific areas - production and processing, and marketing.
In this regard, Pro-Camelids will set up training and financing schemes to increase camelid production at the family and community level. Programme initiatives will focus on mitigating negative environmental impacts through a sustainable use of natural resources (land, water and pastures). The programme will also provide conditions for enhanced production through better nutrition and health care for the animals and upgraded infrastructure.
To improve both processing and marketing of camelid products, the programme will help poor rural families and their organisations add value to raw materials by applying better methods for processing fibre, meat and hides and developing marketing strategies, including branding and establishing commercial links.
“The potential for poor rural people involved in camelid-related businesses to thrive is absolutely there,” said Jaana Keitaanranta. “They just need some additional tools to take full advantage of the wide range of possibilities that camelid production offers to be able to make a living from it.”
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