Root to Food
Family agriculture is a key productive sector to eradicate hunger and propose changes towards more sustainable agricultural systems. In Latin America, 80% of farms belong to family farming, including more than 60 million people, making it the main source of agricultural and rural employment. Within family farming in the high Andean regions, Andean tubers such as potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), smooth potatoes or ruba (Ullucus tuberosus), oca or ibia (Oxalis tuberosa) and cubio or mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) are essential for food security for being an accessible source of calories, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. One of the difficulties that the cultivation of Andean roots and tubers presents in countries like Bolivia and Colombia, is the low yield, particularly of the traditional varieties. One of the fundamental causes of this low yield in terms of quantity and quality of the product obtained is the poor quality of the seed used. On average, in Bolivia, only 1% of small farmers use quality potato seed, a figure very similar to that of Colombia, a country in which only 3% of farmers plant certified seed. This project aims to improve the production system of potato and Andean tubers of small farmers through the use of good genetic and phytosanitary seed quality, integrated agroecological management of pests in family agricultural production units, and organizational and business strengthening of producer families.
The technological solution
This project seeks to improve the production system of potato and Andean tubers of small producers, through the use of seed of good genetic and phytosanitary quality. In Colombia, the production of native potato seed will be implemented in a "pilot laboratory" managed directly by peasant communities, trained in the use of biotechnological tools for phytosanitary cleaning through in vitro tissue culture. In this way it is expected that good quality seed is available continuously for them, making them less dependent on third parties for their supply.
In Bolivia, the cleaning of the seed through tissue culture in vitro, will be in charge of the Universidad Mayor de San Simón, who in association with the municipality of Sacaba, will be responsible for the continuous supply of seed to farmers in the area.
Likewise, with this project it is expected that with the adoption by farmers of agroecological designs and the incorporation of different strategies in MIPE programs in their crops, the use of agrochemicals will decrease, which will have a positive impact on the environmental and economic sustainability of crops. It is also hoped to strengthen the community, association and organizational fabric of the families participating in the project.
- Collection of native potato and Andean tuber materials were made in Bolivia and Colombia. Currently in Bolivia there are 56 varieties of native potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), 7 varieties of oca (Oxalis tuberosum), 3 varieties of papa lisa (Ullucus tuberosus) and 2 varieties of mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum). In Colombia, 15 varieties of native potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) and 18 varieties of mashua (Tropaeolum tuberosum) were rescued. These tubers were sown in Participatory Research Cores (PRC), where the seed is being multiplied for later introduction to the tissue culture laboratory for its phytosanitary cleaning.
- Currently, two PRC have been established, in which the behavior of these varieties of native potatoes, mashua, vegetables and aromatic plants is being evaluated in agroecological arrangements, with which it is hoped to improve the environmental sustainability of crops and that families have alternative crops to potatoes.
In Colombia we will work with small producers of potato and Andean tubers in the departments of Boyacá and Cundinamarca, organized in 3 associations. These associations will directly benefit 161 families and indirectly 308 families. It is also expected that at least 20 families of small producers who are not currently under any organizational system will benefit.
In Bolivia, work will be carried out with small farmers in the municipality of Sacaba, where 70 families will benefit directly and 150 families indirectly.
Sustainable Development Goals
- Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (PUJ) - Colombia
- Corporación para el Desarrollo Participativo y Sostenible de los Pequeños Productores Rurales (PBA) - Colombia
- Universidad Mayor de San Simón (UMSS) - Bolivia
- Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Sacaba (Municipio de Sacaba) - Bolivia
- Asociación campesina no nacional de trabajadores de la veredad Alizal, municipio de Carmen de Carupa (Asoagroalizal) - Colombia
- Cooperativa Integral Agropecuaria de Colombia (COINPACOL) - Colombia
- Cooperativa Integral de Productores de Papa de Ventaquemada (COOINPAVEN) - Colombia