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Paraiso Verde, Bolivia

  • Definition
    Devising project idea, defining the aim and main components
  • Design
    Specifying details such as time-frame, budget, target indicators, project partners and relevant steps to reach the project objectives
  • Financing
    Searching and securing funding and investment, setting up relevant financing partnerships, and discussing payment modalities
  • Implementation
    Execution of feasibility studies, context analysis, plot design, planting and setting up facilities and starting with potential capacity-building
  • Maintenance
    Operational phase (monitoring and evaluation, impact assessments and adjustments, execution of educational programmes and long-term capacity building)
  • Scaling Up
    Scaling up phase is when the project it has already shown success by obtaining impact as well as economic results and it's ready to become replicable.

The project Paraiso Verde is located in the Bolivian Andes where most of the indigenous population live in isolation and poverty. These highlands are known for their poor soil quality, with extensive overuse and unsustainable land management. The situation has worsened over the years and the local population suffers from the consequences. 

To have a positive socio-economic and environmental impact on this region, with the support of reNature, the Paraiso Verde project wants to support and teach 200 farmers per year by implementing regenerative agroforestry systems on their aprox. 0.5 hectare farms. The project has already reached about 800 farmers and converted 400 hectares of land to regenerative agroforestry systems.

This project will focus on growing apple, peach, avocado trees, and several local varieties like the chirimoya. The main goal of this project is to increase socio-economic and environmental impact in the rural areas of Bolivia. It is expected to impact 200 family farmers per year. 

Addressing the important issue of soil quality

The Bolivian Andes region where the project is located is marked by hilly terrains and slope topography with a naturally fragile ecosystem because of long dry seasons. For this reason, degraded soils have a high level of erosion. On the one hand, erosion is caused by intensively using the soil for agriculture without implementing conservation measures. On the other hand, it is caused by livestock overgrazing. 

Climate change also enhances this process. Erosion and soil impoverishment leads to less production and thus, less income for farmers forcing them to search for alternative income sources or migrate to the bigger cities.

Through a Model Farm, erosion will be prevented and reversed by planting fruit trees for farmers in an agroforestry system. Besides this, water reservoirs will be developed to provide the trees with water during dry seasons. The Model Farm program will focus on stimulating the theme of agroforestry as well as soil improvement. This way, it contribute to the quality of life and income improvement for the farmers involved.

Stimulating community-led initiatives

The objective is to stimulate sustainable development initiatives among local communities as well as increase the awareness of protecting the environment for long-term economic resilience. This will be done by stopping land degradation and preventing the loss of fertile topsoil, ensuring a safer and more varied food supply through agroforestry practices, and planting vegetables and fruit trees to improve the financial situation by higher revenues. Overall this will also lead to a reduction of CO2 emissions.

The Paraiso Verde project works together with several communities and by applying the model farm concept on 0.5 hectare plots it provides a clear example for regenerative agroforestry systems. In the agroecology training, it will be showcased how to improve soil quality and productivity.

The diversification of crops will demonstrate reduced dependency on individual crops whilst protecting farmers from crop failures. The local diet can be improved by growing various species locally while productivity will increase by natural synergies between crops.

Ecosystem services as a priority

Improving ecosystem services is the main focus of the agroforestry system. This will be reached by building 10 water reservoirs and creating irrigation systems for agriculture. The diversification of crops will increase biodiversity and protect the soils. Beside the agroforestry systems 1.100.000 trees against erosion have already been planted and the objective is to plant another 125.000 trees from seeds every year.

Planting trees is a valuable contribution to the local environment as it mitigates erosion, increases biodiversity, and balances the natural system. Additionally, more biomass is produced, and soil life can benefit from the added Soil Organic Matter (SOM). Trees and plants protect soil from flushing or blowing away while dead plant materials retain water in the soil and nurture living soil organisms, supporting the local water retention system. 

The project contributes to the prevention of CO2 emissions and the battle against the consequences of climate change. Regenerating this natural circle by including the local communities will have positive socio-economic and environmental impacts.

Inspiring generations to come

The example of aThe example of agroforestry inspires thousands of farmers over time. The farmland functions as model farms in the region that can be studied and multiplied. The farmland will function as a model farm in the region that can be studied and multiplied. The model school will educate village representatives, teachers, and farmers through workshops. 

Additionally, to shift the awareness to the younger generation, workshops will be given at schools with a theoretical and practical focus. The practical level will be tree planting, plastic recycling, and the building of greenhouses with vegetables. This project contributes to the quality of life as it leads to food security, a more nutritious alimentation, and income improvement for the farmers involved. To scale this impact the project will closely work with strong regional organizations and local partners.

Because of the strong focus on educating farmers and younger generations on how to sustainably manage the land and take care of the environment the ecosystem services will increase and lead to long-term prosperity. Special attention will be given to financial aid and advice about irrigation practices and how to build water reservoirs. 

Regenerative agroforestry practices contribute to the diversification of crops and lead to an increased and more stable stream of income. Furthermore, a greater variety of food can be sold locally, and high-value crops can also be sold internationally. 

Since the project is located mainly in poor, rural, isolated highland provinces it will help many communities and indigenous people out of poverty. This is especially important for women as they are often the ones involved in agriculture and a steady income will help them to provide for their families.

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