Poor and indigenous populations in Bolivia are experiencing the consequences of climate change. The perception of many local residents and farmers is that the weather sharpens the erratic rainfall and extreme weather events, with negative impacts on their livelihoods. Women are often the most affected, having fewer alternative livelihoods. (Bolivia OXFAM Report).
Currently in the Amazon, the Andes and the Bolivian Chaco, the impacts of climate variability on agriculture, particularly affects the most vulnerable compromising their livelihoods and development.
In 2000 after six years in the experimental field of 200m2 and innovations in design, we developed a technological proposal called hydro Sustainable Biotechnology (BTHAS). It is based on the design of ridges with raised floors and channels.
In 2008 the project was carried out in 4-scale coastal communities characterized by excess and lack of water, infertile and degraded soils.
Objectives and beneficiaries
- Generate sustainable livelihoods in conditions of changing climate for indigenous and peasant most vulnerable families;
- diversifying and intensifying climate synchronized production;
- harvesting rain and flood protecting soils;
- linking the production system with the ecosystem in a holistic way;
- creating virtuous circles of economic ecological, ecosystem conservation opportunities;
- boosting productive development, food security and autonomy.
700 families benefited from the hydro ridges, in isolated, rural and urban area communities. Since 2007, OXFAM (2007-12), FAO (2010/2014), Government of Bolivia (2014), 4 municipalities (2010-14), Samaritans Purse (2010) have joined this technological innovation .
Strong points of the practice
- Provide a sustainable solution to flooding and drought management through flood waters in summer and reserves for times of drought, supplying losses to reap the escazas winter rains, say at least two annual harvests and fish.
- Phe system provides improved diet and food security as a result of high constant returns to balance climate and production. The yields of cassava and maize are organically produced the highest in the world: 120tn / ha 7Tn cassava and maize. The channels used for fish get 10TN/ha, diversifying and improving revenue potential.
- Use natural fertilizers, aggregation of organic matter and have residual improving structure and fertility.
- Cultivated plants fix carbon in the soil and retain the functional biodiversity that accrue managed biomass, improving yields and stabilizing the annual maximum production permanently.
- Provides a resilient seed bank.
- Produce horticultural, agricultural, fruit crops.
- Planting begins in the ideal schedule thanks to the availability of irrigation
- The system creates an opportunity for livestock in floods and droughts
- Allows monoculture and intercropping.
- Economic diversification and capacity to provide food to nearby population centers.
- Raise productivity bovine cattle head 1 / 4ha, to 27cabezas / ha.
- Produce Three annual crops (tubers (cassava), grains (corn) and vegetables (tomato) 300% yields by crop, equivalent to 900% / hectare produce 3.5 tons of fish;. Each ha and 35 tons / year food.
- Investment in a small space, high productivity sustainable, profitable and adapted to the CC.
- The cultivated plants fix carbon in the soil and retain the functional biodiversity that accrue managed soil biomass, improving and stabilizing yields the maximum annual production permanently. Under the management of soil from water balance, thanks to the design, the flow channels and production objectives for the beneficiaries and the level of climate risk is determined are previously calculated.
- The technology provides a seed bank which can survive floods and droughts. This is crucial for farmers must plant within just 15 days of flooding taking advantage of the natural fertility; farmers do not have to buy more seeds.
- The system of ridges, with improved soil quality, reduces the need to clear forests. By contrast, individual plots using the traditional slash-and-burn deplete the soil after two or three years of cultivation of maize, rice and cassava.
- The fertility management and soil structure systematically produces horticultural, agricultural, fruit crops, thanks to the agro-ecological approach considering water as main attribute and the secondary ground; if you have a fertile soil without water there is no chance, if you have stored water and soil degraded or no agricultural potential, production possibilities are many.
- Once the water accumulated after a year channels, planting begins in the ideal schedule thanks to the availability of irrigation, so that the rain delay will not affect the production cycle. If rain does not fall extraordinary damages crops due to elevated drainage soils.
- The system creates an opportunity for livestock that is adapting the hydro system, floods and droughts, applied with FAO from 2010 to 2014. It has been shown that these systems can have different formats for different purposes, intensifying production and offering shelter to climate risk. In all cases, the system's main attribute, synchrony with the weather through the water balance, achieved with the system of canals and raised floor, linking the ecosystem and soil management.
- The modern system of ridges, monoculture and intercropping allows depending on the needs to address, and which have been combined with a system of ecological pest control based on bio-controllers, creating a bio-remediating environment for cultivation, without chemicals.
- The economic families diversify and find opportunities for productive vocation. The technology focuses on the market, to provide food to nearby population centers, creates a sustainable business opportunity virtuous economic circles promoting local development.
- Offers two ways to solve the problems of poverty and changing climate. First, you can assign 8 to 12 families per hectare with a focus on food security and Second of 2-4 families with a focus on overcoming poverty.
- In livestock it is expected to raise livestock productivity ridges in the Amazon of 1 head of cattle per 4ha, to 27cabezas / ha, and deforested land, rain harvesting, protecting forests.
- Increases the seeding rate by 33% due to higher fertility and ecological conditions, improving fruit quality and weight.
- The system produces three annual crops with short cycles (tubers (cassava), grains (corn) and vegetables (tomato) with a performance well above the Amazonian average, reaching 300% for each crop, in a sequence of three periods of 120 days, with yields equal to 900% / ha. In the 3.5 channels Tn fish occur. In total each ha., it produces 30 to 40 tons / year of food as climate varies, resulting in adversity.
- It is an innovation in the scale of investment in a small space, high productivity sustainable, profitable and adapted to the climate change.
- Causes a vision of development, posing a given model and strategy focus, management of space and landscape, where the ecosystem look integrates social, environmental, economic and political levels.
Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation
- Generates eco-systemic services by setting environmental carbon, fertility and water balance, creating a favorable climate for micro plants. Burning reduces to zero.
- Harvesting rain water ratio stabilizing the soil during the year produces food.
- Stable production to changing climate, plant and animal waste recycling prevents the release of CO2 and maintains productive system.
- A wide variety of crops, responding to market changes, optimizing income and diets.
- Optimize water / soil and soil management, prevents runoff and leaching of nutrients in areas with steep slopes, water erosion and sedimentation, soil dehydration.
- Women are at the forefront with ways to adapt to changes in climate. Camellones projects offer a promising example using old technologies, adapted and innovated and historical conditions improving food security, adapting to flooding and reducing deforestation.
- Cattle ranching in the Amazon has a chance of sustainable development adapted to the CC, without deforestation and high quality meat. Amazon also has a chance to preserve their ecosystems.
- Has ability to pay may enter the financial system, promoting sustainable development.
- It generates its own source of nutrients
Replicability potential of the practice
The technique of crop and livestock production systems in hydro Camellones shows promising potential in all ecosystems; in the Andes they were applied to improve yields of the ancient local techniques to increase productivity with a focus on generation of soil and water balance.
Replicable in the three ecological zones tropics, valleys, plateaus and dry regions, in South America, Africa and Asia.
[Editor's Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.]