An update on the Neglected and Underutilized Species (NUS) project by PROINPA.

oca harvest The Foundation for the Promotion and Research of Andean Products in Bolivia (PROINPA) has released its Summary Report for 2011-2014 which presents the progress and results achieved in its projects during that period. The document is divided into three sections. The first one presents the progress of PROINPA´s research projects regarding plant genetic resources. The second one focuses on rural development projects related to the conservation and re-valuation of local natural resources and traditional knowledge. The last section is dedicated to agrobiodiversity issues. The two chapters of the last section have a close link to PAR’s agenda.

A project on neglected and underutilized Species funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (NUS IFAD III) was coordinated by Bioversity International and executed in Bolivia by PROINPA. This project helped to develop methods, tools and approaches for assessing and monitoring agrobiodiversity and climate change adaptation. Some of its achievements were the formation of groups of custodian farmers of agrobiodiversity in the surrounding communities of Lake Titicaca, implementation of community biodiversity registers and the creation of a network of custodian farmers (still in progress). One of the most significant achievements was the inclusion of an agrobiodiversity conservation “item” in the Development Plans of the municipalities where the project was conducted. Through this inclusion the municipality will allocate state funds for the conservation of plant genetic resources.

Another project undertaken during the 2011-2014 period was “contribution of agricultural biodiversity to the livelihoods of rural families in the Northern Highlands and head of valleys in La Paz” funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The main purpose of this project was to measure the contribution of agrobiodiversity to the livelihoods of rural families. The results show that the use and management of agrobiodiversity is the main livelihood strategy of rural communities in northern highlands and head of valleys of La Paz, contributing over 80% to food security.

Rural families handle a wide range of diversity of crop species and varieties. During the study 10 to 28 crops were identified among nine communities. The crops with the highest intraspecific diversity are potatoes (29-244 varieties) and oca (7-16 varieties). There are two seasons of food availability: scarcity and abundance. During the scarcity season 75% of the production is consumed by the family while during the abundance 60% of the production is consumed locally. The project measured the contribution of local agrobiodiversity to the family diet: tubers (40%), grains (20%), legumes (5%), vegetables (10-11%) and meats (5-8%).

You can download the Spanish version by clicking here