The following story was written by a CRS’ program manager in South America to offer a window to the lives of the people you help through CRS.
By Jacqueline Soliz, CRS Bolivia
Lucrecio Flores’ quinoa crop looks impressive amongst the extensive plains of the Oruro highlands. He lives in the community of Caico Bolivar with his wife and four children. He is a community leader whose livelihood for the past 10 years has depended on farming quinoa and other crops, such as potato.
Lucrecio, like 22 other farmers in his community, has started to make a change in the way he plants and harvests his crops, in order to gain a foothold in more competitive markets. He is a participant in an ecological pest control project implemented by PROBIOMA, an organization specializing in environmentally friendly techniques, in a partnership with Catholic Relief Services.
The project is training farmers in organic production techniques and the use of environmentally friendly products aimed at reducing pesticide use.
Lucrecio started making changes in his production techniques during this past planting season, and in the process he is already noticing the difference between his crop and the neighboring crops, produced conventionally using chemical pesticides. Lucrecio’s quinoa plants are strong and healthier.
As the harvest season approaches, he calculates that he will obtain approximately 32 to 35 quintals per hectare. That’s an increase from previous years, when he only obtained 18 to 20 quintals per hectare.
As a community leader who was trained in ecological production, Lucrecio explains how he is committed to teaching and encouraging other farmers in his community to work in an environmentally friendly manner, so that they can form an organization that works towards gaining access to organic markets which offer more competitive prices.
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