Desertification Reduction Key to Improving Livelihoods in Rural Bolivia

24 Feb 2010 15:28:00 GMT

Source: Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International
Nadia McGill
Website: http://www.adra.org
Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author’s alone.

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ADRA International

SILVER SPRING, Md.–In Bolivia where desertification affects more than 40 percent of the territory, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is helping farmers better manage available natural resources in an effort to slow soil erosion and preserve the environment.
“This is a huge problem that affects most farmers in this region whose main source of income is agricultural production,” said Marco Quiroz, an ADRA Bolivia agronomist referring to the existing desertification. “In addition, farmers must also contend with natural disasters that return each year, causing severe agricultural losses.”
ADRA expects that a project launched in June 2009 will benefit more than 2,600 residents in nine communities in the mountainous North Cinti region, located approximately 100 miles (160 km) north of the Argentine border. Farmers enrolled in the project will receive training in natural resource management, tree planting and reforestation, sustainable use of natural resources, and environmental preservation.
“By teaching farmers the skills they need to protect their environment, we are helping them to protect their own livelihoods and the future of their children,” added Quiroz. “These techniques will allow them to better provide for their families both now and for years to come.”
Scheduled for completion in 2011, this project, worth more than $696,000, is being funded by the City of Badalona, Spain; the Generalitat Valenciana of Spain, through ADRA Spain; and the Municipality of Camargo, Bolivia.
Desertification, a process of land degrading from productive, cultivable land into non-productive desert, currently affects more than 250 million people around the world, according to the United Nations. Bolivia is particularly vulnerable with two-thirds of its population living in poverty and many farmers living at a subsistence level, reported the World Food Programme (WFP).
For more than 15 years, ADRA Bolivia has been active in the departments of Santa Cruz, Pando, Beni, Chuquisaca, La Paz, Cochabamba, and Potosi. ADRA Bolivia has also trained volunteers to provide immediate support in the communities of Chima, Millocato, Potosi, Viacha, Beni, Santa Cruz, and others.
Follow ADRA on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest information as it happens.
ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.
For more information about ADRA, visit www.adra.org.
Source: Reuters
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