NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Promoting Cañahua in the Extreme Climatic Conditions of the Bolivian Altiplano: A Highly Nutritive Crop with Tolerance to the Effects of Climate Change [NDF C3 D3]

Photo: Alejandro Bonifacio
Photo: Juan Pablo Rodriguez
Photo: Alejandro Bonifacio
Photo: Alejandro Bonifacio
Photo: Juan Pablo Rodriguez
23.09.2013
The project has contributed to the resilience of agriculture production systems, food security and poverty reduction through the reintroduction and adequate management of climate-resilient, short-cycle cañahua varieties in the Bolivian highlands.

Bolivia
Promoting Cañahua in the Extreme Climatic Conditions of the Bolivian Altiplano: A Highly Nutritive Crop with Tolerance to the Effects of Climate Change
Ref: NDF C3 D3

Nordic Partner: University of Copenhagen – Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
Local Partner: Fundacion para la Promocion e Investigacion de Productos Andinos (PROINPA)
Other Partners: n/a
Total Project Cost: EUR  408 817
NCF Financing: EUR 269,952
Agreement Signed: 19 June 2013
Project Classification: Adaptation
Duration:  24 months

Project Objective

The project has contributed to the resilience of agriculture production systems, food security and poverty reduction through the reintroduction and adequate management of climate-resilient, short-cycle cañahua varieties in the Bolivian highlands.

Description

Changes in precipitation patterns create a need for crops with short growing cycles and good tolerance for extreme weather conditions such as drought and frost. Cañahua is a native but highly underutilised goosefoot plant of Bolivia, which is characterised by its high nutrition content and good resilience to extreme weather conditions. The project has promoted cañahua production among poor households near the Titicaca lake through the introduction of varieties adapted to new climate patterns, and through the testing and application of appropriate crop and land management techniques. The project has also introduced pilot plants for cañahua seed processing and strengthened local community organisations to bring cañahua products to the market and generate income in the food value chain.

The key results of the project include:

  • Cañahua yield has increased from initial 300 to 648 kg/ha.
  • Area with canahua was increased from 25 to 193 ha.
  • The 432 families that participated in the project produced 122 tons of organic cañahua of which 5% was saved as seed for the following year, 20% was used for local consumption and 75% was commercialized in the organic cañahua market.
  • Producer organisations have been strengthened, and a pilot plant has been set up to process pearled cañahua for domestic and international market. 
  • Producers obtained a price of pearl cañahua increasing from 630 to 2030 USD/t.
  • Of the 91 tons of commercialized cañahua, 10 tons were exported to Canada and the United states generating a total income of 29,800 USD to the producer families.
  • A market study and business plan for the commercialisation of the crop completed.
  • A strategy for adaptation to climate change impacts for local communities in the High Andes completed.

Relevance for Climate Change

Climate change is estimated to exacerbate the already harsh weather conditions in the Andean highlands. Shortening growing cycles, droughts and early frosts increase crop losses that can endanger the livelihoods of farmers. Since cañahua can tolerate drought and frost, and has a short growing cycle, economic losses due to early frost and short cycles of rain can be reduced through the re-introduction and expansion of the plant. As a result of the project some 430 families have improved their food security through securing cañahua production irrespective of weather and through gaining access to markets which improves diet diversification and access to new technology.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

Because cañahua has received very little attention by research institutions, there has been a lack of formally defined cañahua varieties, quality seeds and appropriate threshing and seed cleaning technologies in the market. Moreover, there were previously no cañahua processing plants in Bolivia and only limited information on appropriate crop management methods for the different cañahua producing regions. Building knowledge on the breeding, cultivation and marketing of cañahua has helped finish the full domestication of the crop and increase the use of cañahua in other potential Andean highlands with similar climatic conditions. The technology developed in the project will be generated and distributed as a public good, with no restrictions on its further dissemination and use.

More information

University of Copenhagen Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences
PROINPA
Final Report - University of Copenhagen